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Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 1 Categories
Ages: 6-8   Grades: 1-3

Grow word knowledge based on categories and expand language and thinking skills.  Appealing lessons with simple language demands are perfect for children with language-learning disorders.           


  • Understand the many ways things can be grouped
  • Recognize and use specific strategies to understand and use an increasingly rich vocabulary
  • Expand working vocabulary and curricular vocabulary
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The one-page activities feature lots of visual supports.  Vocabulary is taken from graded vocabulary lists and is familiar to most students.  A pretest/posttest makes it easy to measure instruction results. 

Lesson formats vary and consist of tasks like:

  • sorting reproducible pictures into categories and subcategories
  • naming categories and items in a category
  • circling, checking, and crossing out words
  • coloring pictures as a reinforcer

Children learn to:     

  • sort things into groups of things that share a common characteristic
  • understand broad categories and subcategories
  • recognize which words are members of the same category
  • exclude words that aren't members of a given category

You may purchase Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 1 Categories individually or as part of the 6-book Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 1 set.  The 6-book set consists of:

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 1 Antonyms

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 1 Associations

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 1 Attributes

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 1 Categories

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 1 Concepts

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 1 Synonyms


Copyright © 2005

40 pages, pretest/posttest, answer key
  • Effective vocabulary instruction strategies actively 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).
  • Children require strategic instruction to access the curriculum to the best of their abilities.  Instruction in key language areas helps children become effective students (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Vocabulary skills correlate with academic success and literacy attainment (NICHD, 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).

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 1 Categories 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. New York: Guilford Press.

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

National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD). (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4754). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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


Kate LaQuay, Carolyn LoGiudice


Kate LaQuay, J.D., became part of LinguiSystems' extended family more than 20 years ago when her mother, Carolyn LoGiudice, joined the company.  Now a mother herself, Kate has co-authored several LinguiSystems products, including U.S. History A Reading Comprehension Book, U.S. Government A Reading Comprehension Game, and Spotlight on Vocabulary Levels 1 and 2.  Previously, she practiced law for six years in Los Angeles.

Carolyn LoGiudice, M.S., CCC-SLP, was a speech-language clinician in school, clinic, and private settings before joining LinguiSystems in 1984.  She has co-authored many materials with LinguiSystems, including The WORD Test, No-Glamour Vocabulary Cards, The Test of Semantic Skills (TOSS-P and TOSS-I), and the All-Star Vocabulary game.


All students need to expand their working vocabularies.  Some students have a natural facility for language and semantic relationships, enabling them to enlarge their vocabulary almost effortlessly.  Simply reading, listening, and talking seem to boost these students' vocabulary skills.

Many other students need to exert conscious energy to understand and recall an increasingly diverse vocabulary.  Some of them are poor or reluctant readers.  Other students have limited exposure to a rich variety of spoken English.  Still others have language-learning disabilities, attention disorders or ineffective systems for storing and retrieving vocabulary.  All of these students can benefit from specific vocabulary exposure and instruction.  They can improve their vocabulary skills through conscious attention and guided learning.

The main goal of Spotlight on Vocabulary books is to help students recognize and use specific strategies to enrich their skills for understanding and using an increasingly rich vocabulary.  Categories, Level 1 teaches students the many ways we can group things that have something in common with each other.  These are the student objectives of this book:

  • to understand that we can sort things into groups of things that share at least one common characteristic, and we can label such groups with a name for the category
  • to understand that one thing can belong to many different categories
  • to understand that broad categories can be sorted into subcategories
  • to recognize which words are members of the same category
  • to exclude words that aren't members of a given category

Here are some guidelines for doing the activities in this book with your students:

  • Have your students take the Pretest/Posttest before they begin doing the activities in this book.  When they have completed the book, have them retake the test and compare the results to their original scores.
  • Make sure your students have ready access to a student-friendly dictionary and thesaurus.  Encourage your students to consult these references while they're doing the activities.
  • Use a multisensory approach to introduce the topic of categories.  Have your students each put one shoe in a common spot on the floor.  Talk about the category of footwear, pointing out that members of the footwear category can be alike or different, yet still be footwear.  Ask your students to group and regroup their shoes by various characteristics, such as with or without laces, by color, or by type of shoe.  Then do the same task with a variety of buttons.
  • Give your students lots of practice in both identifying and explaining categories.  Explain that the same category can have different labels or names, such as "drinks" or "beverages."  Be a good role model by explaining categories you notice as you present various lessons and activities to your students.
  • One of the richest categories is people.  You can categorize people in many ways, such as relatives, professions, nationalities, ages, natural talents, height, type of hair, marital status, political preferences, and activities or hobbies.  Most people have multiple roles, so you can group them in more than one category, such as a woman who is a mother, a lawyer, a volunteer, a daughter, and a gourmet cook.  Ask your students to list all the roles they each play and all the categories these roles fit into.  Then compile a class chart of these categories to graphically display the variety of categories your students represent.  Include yourself, too!
  • After presenting a worksheet, encourage your students to create their own category tasks using the same pattern as the worksheet.  Help them incorporate vocabulary words from their current academic lessons and texts to give them practice with these essential words.  You can also mix and match the pictures from various activities within this book to expand students' practice with categorizing and recategorizing.
  • Make a set of flash cards for vocabulary words your students are learning in an academic area.  Have your students take turns sorting the words into categories, labeling each category.  Challenge your students to categorize these words in more than one way whenever appropriate to encourage flexible thinking.

We hope Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 1 Categories is a big hit with you and your students!

Kate and Carolyn