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Word Play: Vocabulary Instruction in the Primary Grades (K-3)

Are you looking for ways to rapidly grow your students' vocabulary? This online course focuses on ways to improve students' vocabulary. The course begins with options for vocabulary assessment. The results of the assessment will be used to guide instruction and select appropriate and effective instructional strategies. Strategies presented include word parts and word roots, semantic feature analysis, categorization, analogies, concept maps, traditional resources, and the cloze procedure. Teachers will also be presented with information regarding the strong connection between vocabulary development and comprehension. Teachers will understand the importance of reading aloud to students and establishing a print-rich classroom environment in order to build student’s vocabularies. Finally, specific intervention strategies for struggling students are also shared. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"Your courses have been beneficial. The final assignments are always great because I am actually able to use them in my classroom." - Sue Wiles


Enrollment Options

Register] Course Registration Only $120 with the discount

Register]Course Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $304


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

For the Love of Words: Vocabulary Instruction that Works” by Diane E. Paynter, Elena Bodrova, and Jane K. Doty

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 80T02

UCSD Course Number: EDUC41480

Unit One

  • Focus on Vocabulary Research
  • Three Tiers of Words
  • The Effects of Vocabulary on Comprehension
  • Test #1
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection

Unit Two

  • Vocabulary Assessment
  • Cloze Procedure and Maze Technique
  • Sight Word Vocabulary and High Frequency Words
  • Test #2

Unit Three

  • Structural Analysis
  • Word Parts and Word Roots
  • Creating a Print-Rich Classroom
  • Test #3
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise

Unit Four

  • Semantic and Concept Maps
  • Semantic Feature Analysis
  • Categorization/Classification
  • Test #4

Unit Five

  • Figurative Language and Literature
  • Content Area Vocabulary
  • Reading Aloud to Students
  • Test #5

Unit Six

  • Analogies
  • Building Word Awareness through Play
  • Promoting Reading
  • Vocabulary Interventions
  • Assignment #4: Locate literature books that can be used to teach figurative language
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)