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Listening for Vocabulary All Year 'Round
Ages: 5-8   Grades: K-3

Teach the vocabulary of seasonal events and activities.  Entertaining Brennan Bear stars in easy-to-use classroom lessons that also develop language and listening skills.


  • Build receptive and expressive vocabulary
  • Listen for vocabulary while following directions
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*The CD contains the complete book.  All pages are printable.
** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

There are two themed units for each month from September through May.  A monthly parent note with take-home activities reinforces the vocabulary learned at school.  Each unit targets vocabulary words in a four-lesson progression:

Lesson 1
Introduce the ten-word vocabulary and the full-page, themed illustration of Brennan Bear.  Play the mystery word guessing game.

Lesson 2
Read the Brennan Bear story, emphasizing the unit vocabulary words.  Children listen for the vocabulary words and answer story comprehension questions.

Lesson 3
Children complete a fun, hands-on activity that reinforces the theme's vocabulary words.  The activities require a minimum of materials and some preparation time. 

Lesson 4
This one-page activity has children listen to and follow directions that contain the themed vocabulary words. 


Children add 180 relevant words to their vocabulary.  Some of the themes and target words are:

  • School—backpack, cafeteria, principal, supplies, and more
  • Football—bleachers, helmet, referee, stadium, and more
  • Thanksgiving—cranberries, Mayflower, chief, buckle, and more
  • Winter—parka, penguin, snowdrift, snowshoes, and more
  • Basketball—dribble, hoop, scoreboard, court, and more
  • Valentine's Day—arrow, Cupid, mailbox, envelope, and more
  • St. Patrick's Day—bagpipe, leprechaun, shamrock, rainbow, and more
  • Baseball—batter, dugout, diamond, umpire, and more
  • Gardening—hoe, soil, sprout, weeds, and more

Copyright © 1992

196 pages
  • Students may receive up to 90 percent of school information through listening. 
    "It is essential for language teachers to help their students become effective listeners . . . this means modeling listening strategies and providing listening practice" (NCLRC, 2004).
  • In-depth knowledge of word meaning helps students comprehend what they read and helps them use words accurately in speaking and reading (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Statewide standardized tests measure vocabulary skills through:
    - knowledge of antonyms, synonyms, and multiple-meaning words to determine 
    - ability to analyze word relationships meaningfully
    - use of linguistic context to comprehend unknown words (Scholastic, n.d.).
  • An efficient lexicon is not organized like a dictionary: instead, words and their properties (e.g., semantic meaning) are interconnected and associative.  Language-impaired children have fewer lexical entries than their typically-developing peers and fewer connections among the words they know (Brackenbury & Pye, 2007).

Listening for Vocabulary All Year 'Round incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Brackenbury, T., & Pye, C. (2007). Semantic deficits in children with language impairments: Issues for clinical assessment. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 36, 5-16.

National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC). (2004). Teaching listening. Retrieved March 24, 2009 from

Scholastic. (n.d.). The importance of vocabulary on 3rd and 4th grade standardized tests. Retrieved March 24, 2009 from

Taylor-Goh, S. (2005). Royal college of speech and language therapists: Clinical guidelines. United Kingdom: Speechmark.


Brenda Brumbaugh, Nan Thompson-Trenta


Brenda Brumbaugh, M.A., CCC, is a speech-language pathologist for the Perry Local School System in Massillon, Ohio.  She works with children from preschool through high school ages who have communication disorders.

Nan Thompson-Trenta, M.A., is a speech-language pathologist for the San Diego Unified School District in San Diego, California.  She works with children from preschool through sixth grade who have communication disorders.  She also provides language and listening lessons for preschool, kindergarten, and special education classes. 

Brenda and Nan are interested in creating language and listening materials that can be used in small group or classroom settings. They are also co-authors of LinguiSystems' Listening for Basic Concepts All Year 'Round.


Brennan Bear is back!  He's armed with more enjoyable language and listening lessons for your classroom.  In our first book, Listening for Basic Concepts All Year 'Round, Brennan introduced lessons to build children's understanding of basic concepts through good listening.

In Listening for Vocabulary All Year 'Round, Brennan stars in language lessons that introduce 180 words to enrich vocabulary.  The children will practice good listening skills as they explore the varied vocabulary of seasonal activities and events.

Two themed units are included for each month of the school year.  Four easy-to-use lessons in each unit teach an understanding of ten vocabulary words.  To help the children master the vocabulary, we've included both receptive and expressive activities using the words.

The vocabulary pictures found in the back of the book are a very special feature of Listening for Vocabulary All Year 'Round.  In addition to their intended use in the unit lessons, these pictures can be used flexibly and innovatively to extend vocabulary learning in many ways.  The children can use them to formulate sentences, create a picture dictionary, or play a memory game with pairs of identical pictures.  You'll probably think of other ways to creatively use these pictures to meet the children's needs.

The first lesson in each unit introduces the vocabulary and invites the children's participation in a mystery word guessing game.  To prepare for this lesson, copy the full-figure picture of Brennan at the beginning of each unit and attach it to a large manila envelope.  Place vocabulary pictures for all but the secret mystery word inside the envelope before introducing the vocabulary.

You'll also use the vocabulary pictures to visually identify the vocabulary as it is used in a story in the second unit lesson.  We suggest you show the vocabulary picture for each word whenever you use it in the story.  (If you're using the pictures in front of a classroom, you may want to enlarge them on a photocopy machine.)  To give individual children more listening practice, give each child a picture, encourage her to listen for her word, and have her hold up the picture whenever her word is mentioned.

The third lesson in each unit is a hands-on activity for reinforcing the theme's vocabulary words.  The activities require a minimum of materials and some preparation ahead of time.  In the activities, ten children will complete a task involving the vocabulary words.  If the activities are used with groups of more than ten, you may want to make more than one copy of the materials and do the task more than once with the same word.

The listening page at the end of each unit exercises the children's listening skills as they use the vocabulary they've learned in lessons one through three.  To complete the listening pages, each child will need a box of eight crayons.  We recommend that you read the instructions for these listening pages aloud twice to be sure the children have a chance to hear everything you say.

We've included a take-home note and an activity page at the end of each month to reinforce the vocabulary learned at school.  Each friendly note lists the vocabulary words learned that month and has two activities to do at home.  One activity is a receptive exercise to use with an accompanying listening page.  The other activity is an expressive task designed to use all 20 vocabulary words.

These lessons have worked well in both the classroom and small group settings where we've tested them.  We've found the lessons to be especially helpful for improving the vocabulary skills of our special education children.  All the children enjoy their active participation in the lessons.  Brennan has been a great motivator for them, too!

We hope that Brennan and Listening for Vocabulary All Year 'Round help the children's vocabulary grow and make your lesson preparations easier and more enjoyable.

Have fun with Brennan!

Brenda and Nan