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Vocabulary To Go®
Ages: 7-11   Grades: 2-6

Teach curricular vocabulary in a wide array of contexts so students master word meanings and develop word flexibility.  They will also learn antonyms, synonyms, and associations; and improve reading comprehension. 


  • Expand curricular vocabulary
  • Use vocabulary in new contexts
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** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

The book has forty vocabulary lessons, each targeting six curricular vocabulary words.  The lessons are divided into three reading levels: 2.0-2.9, 3.0-3.9, and 4.0-4.9.  The curricular areas include: math, health, science, geography, history, arts, and life skills.

Each five-page lesson consists of a brief, illustrated reading passage followed by five vocabulary activities:

  • answer a question using a picture cue
  • sentence completion using a word bank
  • match target words to their definition
  • answer yes/no questions
  • identify the correct use of vocabulary words in sentences
  • identify sentences with the similar meanings when target words have been paraphrased
  • choose words related to the target words to complete sentences (associations, antonyms, and synonyms)

Extra helps include:

  • pretest/posttest for each reading level
  • answer key
  • comprehensive word list index (240 words total)

Copyright © 2006

216 pages, pretests/posttests, CD with answer key and word list
  • 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).
  • Questioning is the core of critical reflection.  It prompts students to engage in a research process that fosters higher-order thinking skills and social-moral attitudes (Daniel et al., 2005).
  • 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).

Vocabulary To Go 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, NY: Guilford Press.

Daniel, M.F., Lafortune, L., Pallascio, R., Splitter, L., Slade, C., & de la Garza, T. (2005). Modeling the development process of dialogical critical thinking in pupils ages 10 to 12 years. Communication Education, 54(4), 334-354.

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

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


Andrea Lazzari


Andrea M. Lazzari, Ed.D., is a speech-language pathologist for Henrico County Public Schools in Richmond, Virginia.  She has also worked 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.  Vocabulary To Go is Andrea's twenty-third publication with LinguiSystems.  She is the author or co-author of several other publications, including the HELP series.  When she's not teaching or writing, Andrea serves as leader of her daughter Tamara's Girl Scout Troop 3059.


I developed Vocabulary To Go for students in grades 2 through 6 who have restricted vocabularies and, therefore, experience difficulty reading and understanding curriculum vocabulary.  Vocabulary To Go comprises 40 lessons, each with a brief, illustrated reading passage and vocabulary comprehension questions.  Within each lesson, students can learn and use the meaning of six vocabulary words by completing seven types of exercises.  This exposes students to a variety of contexts to aid in the acquisition of target words and helps maximize their progress.  Learning and using the target words in more than one context also helps students become flexible in their word use, as supported by evidence-based practices.

The specific tasks in each lesson include:

  • answering a thought-provoking question from the story using a picture cue
  • completing sentences using target words from a word bank
  • matching target words to simple definitions
  • answering yes/no questions incorporating target words 
  • identifying correct use of target words in sentences
  • identifying sentences with similar meanings when target words have been paraphrased
  • choosing words related to target words (synonyms, antonyms, associated words)

The reading passages focus on seven curricular areas:

  • math/economics
  • history/social studies
  • geography
  • science
  • the arts
  • life skills
  • health/physical education

I selected the content of the passages from various states' compendia of learning standards in each curricular area.  Target vocabulary words were chosen to help students understand the content of the reading passages in this book as well as related material they will encounter in the classroom.  The target words support acquisition of curricular knowledge and comprehension of grade-level reading materials in the content areas.  As suggested by evidence-based practice, using vocabulary items derived from content learning materials will better equip students to master reading matter in the content areas.

A pre/posttest in the beginning of the book features the target words from each lesson with basic definitions of each word in a matching format.  Administering the pretest will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses in a student's lexicon and will guide your selection of passages for each student.  It will also provide evidence of student progress when you administer it as a posttest.

The readability of the passages is controlled based on the Flesch-Kincaid readability statistics (revised in 2002).  For example, a reading passage with a reading level of 3.1 using the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Scale should be understandable for a student in the first month of third grade.  I suggest that you initially select passages at the student's comfort level of reading, progressing to higher levels as the student experiences success.  The range in readability of the passages is from reading level 2.0 through 4.9.

The readability ranges for each section are:

  • Passages 1-15: Readability 2.0-2.9
  • Passages 16-30: Readability 3.0-3.9
  • Passages 31-40: Readability 4.0-4.9

Use the passages with individual students or with students working in small groups.  Provide each student with a photocopy of the passage, and begin by previewing the passage, using the title and illustration to predict the content of the passage.  You may want to read the passage aloud to the students first or read it aloud together.  Then let the students read it independently.  Encourage them to highlight target words in the passage as well as throughout the exercises.  At the end of each section, ask the students to use the target words in their own original sentences.  You may also ask the students to compile a dictionary (written or pictorial) with the target words, adding to it as you work your way through the passages.

The answer key on the enclosed CD provides the correct responses to the activities.  Also included on the CD is a comprehensive list of the target vocabulary words and the pages on which they appear.

I hope that the reading passages and tasks in this book help fill in the gaps in your students' basic vocabularies and spark their interest in related curricular materials and topics.