former BookMates coordinator at Sturgeon Elementary School)
Word bank words are words immediately recognized in isolation by each student from his/her own experience story or from books he/she has read. The word is written in manuscript on a small card. Thus, each student accumulates a private supply of sight words in his/her own "word bank.” Two manila folders taped together containing alphabetized self-stick library pocket cards, a small plastic recipe box or similar box with a lid can serve as a word bank. This word bank serves many useful purposes: it is a source of words for learning word recognition skills, word study, and many independent activities. Listed below are some suggested ways of using words contained in a word bank. Each activity can be modified from an independent to a small-group activity.
1) Find contractions
2) Find words that go together to make contractions
3) Find plural words
4) Find ten words and make them plural
5) Find words with endings (e.g., makes, walking, talked)
6) Give each child the endings -s, -ing, -ed to keep in the word bank and have them use the endings to make new words
7) Find one-, two-, or three-syllable words
8) Have a child look at a picture. Ask the student to find all the word cards he/she can use to tell about the picture. Have the student write a story using the word cards.
9) Let children listen to a song, jingle or nursery rhyme. Have them find all the word cards they can to tell about what they heard.
10) Find ten words that end with a suffix. (You might want to provide an example of a particular suffix to look for.)
11)Find ten words that begin with a prefix. (You might want to provide an example of a particular prefix to look for.)
12)Use a story starter and ask students to finish the ending using words from their word bank
13)Make phrases with the word cards (e.g., up on the house) and have the child write them in his/her journal
14)Make sentences with the word cards and have the child write them in his journal
15)Find words that are pronouns
16) Find all the words that could describe a word that you provide (e.g., "house"—old, new, stone, etc.)
17) Draw a picture, then use the words to make a story about the picture
18)Find words that belong to certain word families (e.g., cate, take, or pot, hot, lot)
19)Find compound words
20)Find words that can go together to make compound words
21) Find possessive words
22) Have students pick out ten words from the word bank, then write them in their journal, take off the first letter(s) and add a new letter(s) to make new words
23)Pick out ten words from the word bank, then write them in journal, take off the ending letter(s) and add a new letter(s) to make new words
24) Find words that contain short a, e, i, o, u
25)Find words that have two vowels
26) Pick out five words from word bank and write each word in your journal. Beside each word write a word that rhymes with the word.
27) Find words that begin alike
28) Find words that end alike
29) Write three words as headings in the child's journal: Put a blue line under the first one, a red line under the second, and a green line under the third. Have the child find all word cards that begin (or end) like these words. Write them under the correct column.
30) Find all the words in word bank that have the letter “b” or any other identified letter. Write them in the journal.
31)Show a picture card and find words that begin (or end) like the item in the picture
32)Copy a paragraph or a very short story for the student. Ask the student to see how many of his/her word bank words are contained within the text (similar to a word hunt).
34) Make a picture dictionary using magazine pictures to represent some words
35)Make an animal alphabet, a toy alphabet, a color alphabet, etc. using word bank words
36)Find all words that begin like the student's name
37) Find all the words that begin with a capital letter
38)Classify and categorize word cards according to:
a. things you can find in a grocery, toy store, etc.
f) wild animals
40)Teacher writes open-ended sentences in journal and student completes the sentences incorporating words from word bank. The child then illustrates the stories and books are bound for use during reading time (e.g., In my room. . . there is a bed in the corner).
41)Play "Go Fish" using word bank cards—Do you have a card that begins with the same sound as the word cake?
42) Play Bingo using word bank cards
43) Have children construct nonsense sentences with word cards (e.g., A road can walk to the store)
44)Ask children to find interesting words in their word bank and tell why the word is interesting to them
45) Find all words that mean the same as "said," etc.
46)Have children find their words in magazine ads or headlines of newspaper stories. Let them underline or highlight the words that they find.