Teaching Vocabulary Using Sensory Bin

Learning vocabulary in context of picture books

In terms of vocabulary, I have always been a firm believer of learning new words in context. Picture books are great for offering contextual cues such as pictures/illustrations and sentence and story prediction, for children to pick up contextual meaning of the new words. For emergent readers, they may initially rely heavily on contextual cue to aid word identification, which is why it is important for parents and teachers to provide ample practice for children to internalize the new words with hands-on activities. Nonetheless, picture books are great tools to engage and capture the interest of the child. And re-reading the book with attempts from the child to read the newly acquired sight words can boost your child’s confidence in becoming a competent reader!

One example of teaching sight word recognition is this simple sensory bin with sensory materials and pictures for your child to match with the words. We have read Goldilocks and the Three bears and I picked out some of the high frequency noun and adjective words such as bear, girl, bowl, hot, cold.

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Materials you need:

1.sensory box
2. For sensory purpose, fill the box with beans, Pom Poms, rice or other small contents
3. Sight wordsheet (Velcro stickers-optional) with picture cut-outs.

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My girl’s learning experience

My little babe was immediately drawn to the sensory bin with the picture cards partially hidden among the beans. She played quite a while, discovering the feel of the beans to the touch of her fingers, and digging for the picture cards. At one point, she exclaimed,” Mummy it’s like playing hide-and-seek”!

Moments later, I demonstrated to her how to use the learning tray. I read out the words on one sheet, and had her draw out the correct picture to match with the sight words. She loves hunting for the pictures and sticking it on the Velcro in each allocated box.
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I simply love how easy and fun word identification can be when we just inject a little sensory element into a simple game! Try it out! 🙂

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