Word Play: Vocabulary Instruction in the Primary Grades

(Grades K-3) / Flex Course

PDI Course Number: 80T02 / UCSD Course Number: EDUC41480


Course Description

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 students' vocabularies. Finally, specific intervention strategies for struggling students are also shared. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units (50 hours of training) 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

Course Only

Only $112 with the discount

Course with Credit from UCSD Extension

Only $284 with the discount

This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units or 5 quarter units of graduate-level credit from UC San Diego.

You have up to one year from the date you are enrolled to complete a flex course.


Print our customized course approval form to share with your school district.


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.

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



UCSD Course Number: EDUC41480
Unit One
  • Focus on Vocabulary Research
  • Three Tiers of Words
  • The Effects of Vocabulary on Comprehension
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1
Unit Two
  • Vocabulary Assessment
  • Cloze Procedure and Maze Technique
  • Sight Word Vocabulary and High Frequency Words
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2
Unit Three
  • Structural Analysis
  • Word Parts and Word Roots
  • Creating a Print-Rich Classroom
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3
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)


Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

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