How can your child create an effective word bank?
You can tell your child till you're blue in the face, "You have to build a word bank. Just start picking out words and writing a list in your notebook, or at the back of your exercise book". It's simple!
But, is it that simple?
Once they have done this, there are a few questions that they need to ask when deciding which words should be part of their word bank:
Are they collecting words that phonetically sound the same?
Do they want to collect words that they have previously spelled incorrectly?
Do they want to collect words that are similar (synonyms) or totally opposite (antonyms), or both?
Do they want words that are categorised by grammar, topic, or are from other literacy groups?
If you are unsure, don't worry. I have a few methods that can help answer most of these questions...
How to organise your word bank for writing
Children feel more at ease when there is a structure or order. Especially when it comes to collecting new vocabulary to use for their writing.
Categorise your word bank into Grammar Groups
Quick Tip 1:
Nouns: Always list nouns first. Be sure your child lists specific, concrete nouns and help them generate synonyms for frequently used words related to the topic.
Adjectives: Split the column into six sections to differentiate characteristics and the five sensory adjectives (sight adjectives, sound adjectives, smell, touch, and taste).
Adverbs: Show your child how to turn adjectives into adverbs by simply adding the ly.
Verbs: Ensure your child includes power verbs to help a reader vividly picture the action.
Quick Tip 2:
When your child has organised their words into the basic grammar terms, why not get your child to place the words into other more advanced writing groups, that can help develop their creative or analytical writing.
Why Does Your Child Need A Word Bank?
As an adult, it might be quite self-explanatory to why your child needs an effective word bank, but young people would beg to differ.
Many of my students only see the benefits of a word bank when they are actively using it and they clearly know how to.
But the benefits of using a word bank consistently includes:
It helps your child to remember keywords or terms to either a specific topic or language.
It helps your child to be more organised and independent in their own learning.
It helps your child to prioritise ideas and words more effectively in their writing.
And finally, it helps your child to be more consistent and create a routine when collecting vocabulary.
Interactive Ways To Create A Word Bank At Home
Create a Word Wall
Word walls can be really useful for every child, especially visual learners.
It gives them the opportunity to have their words displayed on their bedroom wall where they can see them at all times. Also, they can design their word wall and this can create a sense of ownership over their list.
Why not have your child's list displayed on their wall in a bold and colourful text?
You can also have pictures that associate with the words, which will help your child with word association.
Have a dedicated notebook
This is the most common way to collect a word bank, and it would be best for your child to have a dedicated book that is only used for their word bank.
In my experience, when most students keep a word bank behind their exercise books, this tends to get lost in the archives.
So if your child has a notebook for only their word bank, this would help your child to be more organised when recording their desired words.
This might also be a great opportunity for your child to design and decorate their notebooks and a great excuse to be creative!
Store words on the computer
As we all know, with every notebook we own, it can easily go walkies or get lost.
So it is always useful for your child to have their list stored on a word document as a backup.
You can have their word bank on the computer as the master copy and their notebook as a rough copy, that might be good practice for your child. This will encourage them to take more responsibility in their word bank.
Create a Wordle
Wordles are a great way to get your child interested in words and their association. It is a great visual tool that many of us educators use for lessons, but they are very easy to create at home too.
This type of format is great to use if your child has certain subject terminology that they need to learn for a specific topic.
Please go to the following link so they can start creating their wordle: https://wordart.com/
Get some useful word banks online
There are many sites you can access online that can give you a great word bank. But I think the best ones I have seen is from:
This site has not only amazing word banks that are categorised depending on the subject, age level, and topic.
But it also contains other great resources that are so easy to access and print for your child at home.
This is definitely my go-to when it comes to great literacy resources.
This site has some awesome word banks and other useful visual resources for your child. A lovely platform to discover new ideas from other educators and parents alike.
So to conclude, when creating a word bank for your child make sure:
Categorise your word bank into a specific group:
- Grammar: Adjectives, Adverbs, Verbs, and Nouns
- Advanced writing techniques E.g Poetic Verbs, Onomatopeia, Sensory Language, Emotive Language, etc
- Pick a way to store or collect your word bank. E.g Word wall, notebook, word document on the computer, wordles, using word banks online.