Vocabulary Doesn’t Have to be a GLOBAL Problem


This week I have discussed vocabulary as a key component in comprehension at  http://www.letterboxlearntoread.com/improve-vocabulary-reading-comprehension  Today I am going to provide some practical  examples of how to extend vocabulary understanding. It was coincidental today that one of my grand -daughters came home with a high score in a comprehension test. She missed only three questions. I have not seen the test but I wondered whether the questions that she didn’t answer correctly were related to vocabulary or comprehension. Without this information it is difficult to know where to help her. Practical Examples
Today in the car following a ballet session, my grand daughters and I were having a discussion about some boys suspended from a school in Northern Queensland for cheating on a Year Twelve exam. The children were interested in the story because one of their cousins was in the same class as the offenders. One of the girls asked about the meaning of the word, suspension. Now, like any parent or grand-mother this sort of question on the spot is too broad to answer in one little chat even though we tried. When we arrived home we wrote the new word in our little black book and began to plan a few ideas. Here are the ideas we decided to activate.

 When a student is told not to come to school for a week because of bad behaviour, this is an example of a SUSPENSION.

                                                                   With the above statement in mind, I was able to relate to a particular life experience of my red headed son that explained one meaning of suspension. Danny was at boarding school and had done something that deserved a consequence. We were a long way from the school, living in Charleville and Danny was in Yeppoon. He was given in-house suspension. His punishment was  to cut down trees in the grounds of the school. Apparently,he had access to a ute or some other vehicle to remove the trees. Work Health and Safety would have had a field day!! By relating vocabulary to personal experiences we cement the learning.
    A SUSPENSION can also be a device or framework that supports weight.


 Later in the week when we go to the park I will show the children the swings and talk about the suspension and how the tyre or swing is suspended from the metal frame. This will be an incidental conversation but it will extend the understanding that some words have many meanings.
An example of a SUSPENSION is the springs and shocks in a car.


Another practical example of our vocabulary word for the week was the noise happening under my car. I’d been to the mechanic and had the suspension fixed BUT the plates hadn’t been placed correctly so the noise was HUGE. We looked under the car and talked about the parts of the car that could have been making the noise. This isn’t my area of expertise so the talking was very amateurish!!!

For Older Children and High Achievers
When you put your disbelief on hold long enough to enjoy a movie about magic, this is an example of SUSPENSION of disbelief.


We will probably talk about this concept following the reading aloud each night. Or you could work on this vocabulary concept while reading a novel. Most of the vocabulary work that we do is completed througout a week. We make certain that the items listed are completed and we also add extra vocabulary examples.

Chemical SUSPENSION is a mixture in which small particles of a substance are dispersed throughout a gas or liquid. If a suspension is left undisturbed, the particles are likely to settle to the bottom. The particles in a suspension are larger than those in either a colloid or a solution. Muddy water is an example of a suspension.
At the end of the week we will be mix soil with water so the children can have a hands on activity to enjoy the fun of  playing in mud as well as learning about suspension. This work will be a foundation for later Science lessons when the children do suspension sessions at school. We are actually pre-teaching the vocabulary that they will need.Imagine how much easier this will make their learning.


What I really like about vocabulary exercises is the incidental and natural way that they can be introduced. Forget about the paper and the pencil, use words to learn in a hands on way. Not only are we learning words we are building relationships. At this time we have only concentrated on words that are nouns. Next session we will have to address other parts of speech. Finally, I write the words on cards with pictures added to help the children to remember the meaning of the words. Sometimes it is worthwhile taking photos of the experiences and placing them in a photo album for perusal. Don’t let your children be part of the global problems in vocabulary and comprehension, make them stars!!!!


Ann is a teacher with a unique talent in tutoring students in Australia and overseas. Her programs and products help children, teachers and parents to achieve extraordinary results quickly. Ann has been working online teaching students and adults successfully for the last four years and has taken children from average and below results to well above. Letter Box staff solve problems and puts wings onto dreams. Contact Ann today at info@letterboxlearntoread.com for advice concerning your child’s academic future.