Few things are more frustrating for a teacher than to have to keep teaching students the same vocabulary words again and again. There are some things you can do to make the words more memorable for them. Before each class, go through the section you will read that day and pick out some words you. Choose some that you know will be new to the students. You may also choose words they know in a form they are just beginning to learn, for example, past participles like ‘written’ or ‘eaten.’ At the beginning of the reading class, write these words on the board and go over each of them. To help the students understand, use flashcards, draw a picture, or act the word out. Also, explain what part of speech each word is and how it is used in a sentence. If verbs are not used in the infinitive form in the text, write the tense they are used in on the board together with the infinitive.
Once the students have understood all the words, begin reading. If the students are lower level readers, read the text sentence by sentence, having the students repeat each sentence after you. If they are able to read by themselves, have them read individually or in small groups. After the students have read a sentence with a new word, stop them for a moment. Ask them what the word means in the context of the sentence, or have them explain what that sentence means using the new word.
Once the class has finished reading, ask some questions about the text. Make sure many of your questions use or require the students to use the new words. If writing a book report is part of your class lesson plan, you can also use this as an opportunity to review the new vocabulary. Write the new words on the board and briefly review each one. Then have the students write about the story using some of the new vocabulary. You can also do these activities when the students have finished reading the entire book.
Every few weeks, take the new words the students have learned in Reading class and other classes and play a review game. If you have flashcards, you can put several around the room. Pick a student and say a word. Give them a few seconds to run around the room and find it. Or you can write them all on the whiteboard. Have your students throw a sticky ball at the board and define or make a sentence with the word their ball hits. If they answer correctly, erase the word and continue.
By learning how words are used in a story and especially by using them in their own writing and in games, your students will have no problem learning new vocabulary words from the stories they read.