Valuable Vocabulary

Katie Rice



Understanding vocabulary is essential in comprehending what one is reading.  If one does not know what the words they are reading mean, then he or she cannot fully comprehend the meaning of the text.  The best way to learn groups of words is to group them into semantic groups in order to be able to actively compare and contrast the alike words.   To gain ownership of the rules, the children will locate the words in context, relate the words to one another, and generate new sentences. The purpose of this lesson is to have students learn a group of semantic words because related words are easier to learn.  Vocabulary words that are semantic activate one another and allow students to compare and contrast words to see the different relationships.   



·         Dictionary per Student

·         Worksheet with Vocabulary Sentences

·         Worksheet with Vocabulary Word Pairs

·         Chart for “Word Wizard” Points

·         Expository Text: Ready, Set, Breakfast!



1.“Today we are going to learn new some new vocabulary words.  Why do you think it is important for us to learn new vocabulary words? We need to learn new vocabulary words so that we can get information from what we are reading. Remember that to be good readers, we have to know what the words we are reading mean, in order to get the information from what we are reading. One way for us to do that, is to learn words in groups that way, we can compare the words.  Though we do our best to learn words, sometimes when we are reading, we get to a word we do not know.  When we do this, we must use strategies to figure out the word we do not know.  What do you think we can do to figure out a word that we don’t know? Today, we are going to focus on learning the vocabulary words obese, devour, appetite, wholesome, famished, and edible. Who can tell me how these words are related? All of these words deal with eating.”   


2. “First, we are going to learn how to look for our vocabulary words in a dictionary. Who knows what a dictionary is? A dictionary is a book that contains many different words with their meanings. When is a time that a dictionary may be useful? Correct! When we encounter an unfamiliar word that we aren’t sure the meaning of. Take out your dictionary from your desk.  (I will give students enough time to look at their dictionary and familiarize themselves with it). What do you notice about the dictionary? Correct! The words in the alphabet are in ABC order. What does this mean? A is before B, B is for C, etc. Our first word to look for is obese.  (I will have obese written on the board.) The man was obese. To begin, you will look at the beginning letter of the word, which is o in obese. You will find where the letter o words begin in the dictionary.  Once you find the words that begin with o, you will look at obese again.  What is the next letter after o?  Correct! The next letter is b! Go to your dictionary and look to the words that have ob.  What is the next letter in obese? Right! The next letter is e so look for obe in the dictionary.  What is the next letter in obese? Great job!! S is the next letter so you are looking for obes.  What is the last letter in the word? Right! E is the last letter so look for the whole word.  What does obese mean? Awesome! Obese means very fat or overweight.  Now we have the definition for obese.  The next word is devour.  (We will use the dictionary to define the rest of the vocabulary words. I will also write each vocabulary word and definition on the board.)


3. I will then provide the students with some examples and some non-examples for each vocabulary word.  “The word obese means to be overweight. A person who exercises and is active would not likely be obese. A person who eats a lot and does not exercise is likely to be obese.”


4. I will then model how to use the vocabulary word in a sentence before asking the students to generate a sentence.  “Let me show you how I might use obese in a sentence. There are more and more people in the United States are obese.  Now you try and finish this sentence: The obese person…..” (I will continue to do the examples, nonexamples, and finish the sentence for devour, appetite, wholesome, famished, and edible.)


·         Our next word is devour. You will devour your food if it is something that you enjoy. If it is something that you do not like, you will not devour it.

·         The next word is appetite. Having an appetite means that you have a desire for food. If you haven’t eaten all day then you will have an appetite. If  you just had a big lunch then you would not have an appetite.

·         The next word is wholesome. Wholesome is something that helps to keep of improve the good condition of your body. A healthy lunch would be wholesome. Junk food would not be wholesome.

·         Famished is our next word. To be famished is to be suffering from extreme hunger. If you have not eaten in days, then you would be famished. If you had lunch, then you would not be famished.

·         Edible means that it is safe to be eaten. Fresh fruit is edible. Old, moldy fruit is not edible.

5. We will continue talking about the vocabulary words.  I will have students comment about each vocabulary word.  “Would a person who play sports be obese? Why or why not?  Who might be obese?” We will continue talking about the rest of the vocabulary words.

·         “If pizza was my least favorite food, would I devour it if we had it for lunch today?

·         “I just had a lunch full of fruits and vegetables. Was it a wholesome lunch?”

·         “I haven’t eaten in two days, what would I be? I would be famished and have an appetite.

·         “I bought bread at the store two weeks ago and there is mold growing on it. Is the bread edible?

6. I will have the students complete a sentence using the vocabulary words. (See below).


7. After completing the sentence sheet below, the students will read an expository text. I will pass out an article that includes at least one vocabulary word from today’s lesson.  “The article that was just passed out is called Ready, Set, Breakfast! We are going to read this story to learn more about the words that we just discussed.

·         “Who knows what the most important meal of the day is? What do you think may happen if you don’t eat this meal? Let’s read to find out!

·         The students will then read silently to themselves.


8. We will them discuss the text that the students read on their own

·         What are some great breakfast meals?

·         Why is breakfast so important?

·         Is it important to eat dinner as well?

·         Why do you think that breakfast is more important than any other meal?

·         What is one vocabulary word that you saw while reading?

·         How was this word used in the story?

·         What is the meaning of this word that was used?


9. The students will also have the opportunity to participate in an activity called, “Word Wizard.” The students will look for obese, devour, appetite, wholesome, famished, and edible outside of the classroom.  Each time the student sees the word in print they will earn one point. If the student hears it used in speech, they earn two points. If the student uses the word themselves (and it makes sense in context) they will earn three points. The points the students earn will be used to earn ranks.  Each student will be ranked on a chart in the class. The lowest level is apprentice. As students earn more points they will move up to word journeyman and eventually to word wizard.



Vocabulary Sentence Worksheet





Directions: Fill in the blanks with the vocabulary word list.


Words: Obese, devour, appetite, wholesome, famished, edible


1. The man is always eating and never exercises so he is ________________________.

2. The mushrooms that were _______________________ became poisonous.

3. We were starving after being stuck in the snowy cabin so we __________ our meal.

4. The food is plentiful and very ______________________.

5. I have not eaten all day so I have a big _______________________.

6. My brother was ____________________ after three days of no food. 


Answers: 1. Obese 2. Edible  3. Devour  4. Wholesome  5. Appetite     6. Famished 







1. Can something be wholesome and famished?

2. Can a person have an appetite and devour?

3. Can a person fast and devour?

4. Can a person have an appetite and be obese?

5. Can a person be wholesome and famished?

6. Can food be edible and have nutrition?










Making Sight Words by Bruce Murray

 Cosper, Liz. Auburn University. Very Valuable Vocabulary-- Click here to see this lesson

Expository Text:

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