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HELP® for Vocabulary
Ages: 8-Adult   Grades: 3-Adult

Clients build vocabulary as they work with hundreds of words and use them in a variety of contexts.  They'll use words to describe, define, and inform.


  • Learn basic and curriculum vocabulary
  • Use new vocabulary in real life
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Written in the best-selling format of the HELP series, these vocabulary activities have:

  • expansive, timeless content
  • appeal to a broad age-range
  • goal-driven activities
  • a gradual increase in complexity within and between activities
  • application to a wide range of developmental and acquired language disorders

Strengthen core vocabulary and expand vocabulary with a variety of learning formats.  Clients develop word flexibility and learn strategies that help them learn new vocabulary efficiently.  The activities cover four skills areas:

Developing Basic Vocabulary
Clients complete sentences and identify words by descriptions and definitions.  Word difficulty ranges from simple vocabulary (e.g., barber, giraffe, and hospital) to higher-level vocabulary (e.g., pediatrician, porcupine, and aquarium).  Clients supply verbs, adjectives, and adverbs from definitions.  More lessons target word associations and antonyms and synonyms.  

Defining Words
Clients define words in a variety of ways: by category, function, form, place, and components.  They learn to use root word, prefixes, and suffixes to define words.

Applying Vocabulary Skills
Clients use words in various contexts as they choose words to complete sentences, change the meaning of sentences, and complete paragraphs.  They make judgments about word choices in sentences and use words to "paint" a picture.  Activities also target synonyms and alliterative phrases.

Curriculum Vocabulary
Learn vocabulary for following directions, mathematics, English, science, geography, history, and the arts.


Copyright © 1999

180 pages, IEP goals, answer key

Since my students have so many language issues that impact their reading and written language, I am always looking for good materials to use to build on and strengthen their vocabulary.  I use HELP for Vocabulary daily with my students–it is GREAT!

Paula Parsons, Teacher
Durham, ME

The HELP books are all superior products that go the extra mile to help children with special needs.  Thank you!

Mary Fratianni, Special Needs Coordinator
Port Jefferson Station, NY


  • Successful reading comprehension is highly correlated with vocabulary development (Pressley, 2000).
  • A systematic approach to teaching vocabulary, including direct and indirect instruction, teaches students that vocabulary is important for learning language and for reading (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002).
  • Students who struggle with vocabulary acquisition need more trials than typical learners to maximize vocabulary growth (Montgomery, 2007).
  • Vocabulary differences in children with high vocabulary skills compared to children with low vocabulary skills can be as much as 4,000 root words in the 2nd grade.  Children who are struggling will not "catch up" in their vocabulary without direct instruction on meaningful words over multiple trials (Biemiller, 2003).
  • Effective vocabulary instruction strategies engage the student and require higher-level cognitive processing.  These strategies include using new words in novel sentences based on connections to prior knowledge, identifying synonyms and antonyms, analyzing word features, and using visual aids (Kester-Phillips, Foote, & Harper, 2008).

HELP for Vocabulary incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. Solving problems in the teaching of literacy. New York: Guilford Press.

Biemiller, A. (2003). Vocabulary: Needed if more children are to read well. Reading Psychology, 24, 323-335.

Kester-Phillips, D.C., Foote, C.J., & Harper, L.J. (2008). Strategies for effective vocabulary instruction. Reading Improvement, 45(2), 62-68.

Montgomery, J. (2007, November). Vocabulary interventions for RTI: Tiers 1, 2, 3. Presentation at the annual American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) conference, Boston, MA.

Pressley, M.L. (2000). What should comprehension instruction be the instruction of? In M.L. Kamil, P.B. Mosenthal, P.D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (Vol. III). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Andrea M. Lazzari


Andrea M. Lazzari, Ed.D., has worked as a speech-language pathologist in the public schools, in a community clinic, and in private practice.  She has taught preschool students with disabilities and was supervisor of Early Childhood Special Education Programs for the state of Virginia.  She has also served as a teacher trainer at the college and university levels.

HELP for Vocabulary is Andrea's twentieth publication with LinguiSystems.  She is also the author of Just for Adults, HELP for Articulation, HELP for Grammar, and The HELP Test Elementary and the co-author of HELP 1, HELP 2, HELP 3, HELP 4, HELP 5, HELP 1 & 2 Language Pictures, HELP 1 & 2 Language Game, HELP 3 & 4 Language Pictures, HELP 3 & 4 Language Game, HELP Elementary, HELP for Auditory Processing, HELP for Word Finding, Test Right, 125 Ways to Be a Better Test Taker, and the remainder of the popular HELP series.


The range and complexity of a person's vocabulary is often used to measure intellectual development both on formal standardized assessments and informally in daily conversations.  Word knowledge reflects not only our general cognitive skill level but also enhances or restricts our ability to acquire new knowledge and skills.

Vocabulary development is pyramidal.  Expansion of existing vocabulary can occur only if a solid core vocabulary is present to use as a springboard.  HELP for Vocabulary has been written to help clients develop or strengthen their core vocabularies and to expand them with new words and terms.  As with all volumes in the HELP series, HELP for Vocabulary provides a variety of strategies and formats to match each client's individual needs and learning styles as he develops and applies vocabulary skills.  The strategies are grouped into four main sections: Developing Basic Vocabulary, Defining Words, Applying Vocabulary, and Curriculum Vocabulary.  Within each section, a range of tasks with stimulus items progressing in difficulty are presented.  IEP goals are provided at the bottom of each page to clarify task directions.

The following guidelines are offered for effective use of the tasks in HELP for Vocabulary:

  1. Since vocabulary skills are needed in both oral and written communication, most of the tasks in this volume can be used as auditory tasks, written tasks, or both.  Blanks are provided for written responses.  Clinician judgment should be used to determine if a task should be presented orally or in writing.
  2. Consistent efforts have been made to order the items within a task from the easiest to the most difficult; however, individual experiences and skills will vary, so clinical judgment must be used when selecting the items within a task sequence to use with a client.
  3. Several repetitions of items may be necessary before target accuracy levels are reached.  It may be helpful to keep a personal lexicon for each client, jotting down the words he has difficulty with and reviewing them at the beginning of each session until they are mastered.
  4. The activities section provides suggestions for expanding some of the tasks in each section.  Supplement these suggestions with your own ideas to reinforce items and enhance recall in a variety of contexts.
  5. Correct responses are provided in the answer key at the end of the book.  Use your discretion in accepting alternative answers based on your client's age and experience.

Carryover is critical to derive maximum benefit from the HELP approach.  Strive to achieve carryover of target vocabulary to daily conversation and to classroom activities.  The section on Curriculum Vocabulary has been included to help bridge the gap between therapy and classroom activities.  This section can be expanded with items from classroom texts and units.

As with the previous HELP volumes, HELP for Vocabulary has been written to meet the need for materials that are practical, functional, and easy to use.  We hope that it serves as a useful tool for enhancing your clinical skills.