First Grade Vocabulary

First Graders' Acquire Vocabulary Skills
Piloted in the spring of 2013, the First-Grade Vocabulary Enhancement Program completed its ninth year in the 2021-22 school year.  This school year we were able to serve over 500 first-grade students in the OCPS district. The program curriculum was created in cooperation between OCPS District staff, Read2Succeed staff, and an education consultant.
The goal is to build vocabulary and background knowledge with at-risk first-graders. Additionally, volunteers help students develop a curiosity about words and language while giving them the tools they need to be better readers. The program utilizes fiction and non-fiction literature along with journals and art supplies to make learning fun!
Program materials and volunteer training is provided by the Read2Succeed team and available at no cost to all participating OCPS district elementary schools.

Research shows there is a great disparity in vocabulary acquisition. Children enter school with "meaningful differences" in vocabulary knowledge. Race, ethnicity, gender, and birth order do not seem to be an indicator of vocabulary knowledge but what does seem to matter is relative economic advantage.[1] Early elementary grades are a crucial time for reading development. By the end of third grade, students should make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. If reading is mastered at this time, the road ahead is clear for achievement. Some students need extra support in these early years to develop and sharpen their reading skills. This is how Read2Succeed helps developing readers.

[1]Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.


Improving Vocabulary - Read2Succeed program steps:

Step 1: Connect with the student. 

Step 2: Introduce or review the rules of the program *

Step 3: Introduce or reintroduce the book you are currently working on with the student.

Step 4: Introduce pre-selected vocabulary words that the student will listen for and highlight in the book.

Step 5: Read the book aloud until the recommended stopping point. The student highlights vocabulary words.

Step 6: Review this session's vocabulary words and paste the journal sheet into the student’s word journal. The student selects and highlights one vocabulary word on the journal sheet.

Step 7: The student creates and writes a sentence using their selected vocabulary word. Student illustrates their sentence in their journal.

Step 8: Review previous vocabulary words and praise the student’s effort. A high-frequency word list is included to review if time allows.

* What is vocabulary? 

The words you know.

Why is vocabulary important to me?

  • The more words you know, the better you can understand what you are hearing and reading.
  • Knowing more words means you can read more books.
  • Knowing lots of words helps you listen, speak, and write.


Session Book
Special Instructions
Session 1 Introduction pre-test and vocabulary words
Session 2 Dive, Dolphin! send book home
Session 3 Biscuit send book home
Session 4 Just A Mess send book home
Session5 Snowy Day send book home
Session 6 Bee-bim Bop send book home
Session 7 I Know a Wee Piggy send book home
Session 8 Alma and How She Got Her Name stop after, "I am Esperazna"
Session 9 Alma and How She Got Her Name send book home
Session 10 Henry & Mudge in the Green Time read "The Picnic"
Session 11 Henry & Mudge in the Green Time read "The Bath"
Session 12 Henry & Mudge in the Green Time send the book home and do the post-test
Session13 Pierre the Penguin pre-test; stop after Pam sees Pierre without feathers
Session14 Pierre the Penguin send book home
Session 15 The Blind Men and the Elephant stop after 6th man touches the tail
Session 16 The Blind Men and the Elephant send book home
Session 17 The Grouchy Ladybug stop after 8:00: praying mantis
Session 18 The Grouchy Ladybug send book home
Session 19 Abuela stop after the Statue of Liberty
Session20 Abuela send book home
Session 21 My Name is Yoon stop after Yoon pretends to be a bird
Session 22 My Name is Yoon send book home
Session 23 Last Stop on Market Street stop after guitar man is plucking and singing
Session 24 Last Stop on Market Street post-test and send books and materials home in the tote bag 


Program Kit

The kit includes eight books with corresponding materials for 12 sessions. Volunteers and students to continue the program with a second set of six books for a total of 14 books for 26 sessions.

Note: Books are given to the students upon completion to build a home library. The remaining supplies are given to the student at the end of the program.





Program Evaluation

The first and last sessions of the program include a pre- and post-assessment. This assessment is administered by the volunteer for progress monitoring.

Contact Us                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Elizabeth Conrad, Read2Succeed Senior Administrator
Direct: 407-317-3200, ext. 200-2835

Kt Paxton, Read2Succeed Coordinator
Direct: 407-317-3200, ext. 200-2940

First Grade Vocabulary Enhancement Program Video