Word Bank

< Back to All Vocabulary Strategies


Word Bank


Word banks help readers expand on their existing vocabulary. 


  • Focus on a word or words that the reader reads regularly 
  • Brainstorm words that have similar meanings
  • Create a list of related vocabulary 
  • Use the alternate word(s) when reading 

See It In Action


Vocabulary Activities Using Word Banks


Working with Words in Many Ways - Part 3: Building a Word Bank from Partners in Reading - San Jose Public Library



Read through a story and identify unknown words. Use a dictionary and/or thesaurus to find the definition of the words and create a list of words that mean the same or similar. Try the new words and see if they still work in the sentence or story. Use this list to create a word bank. 

Mad Libs are a popular way to practice parts of speech and develop vocabulary. 

  1. Choose a story
  2. Focus on vocabulary that is new or challenging to the reader
  3. Erase some of these vocabulary words 
  4. Add a prompt (ex. parts of speech) under the erased word 
  5. Have the reader fill in the blank using a word bank 
  6. Read the completed  story
  7. Ask 'does it make sense?'


Add Complexity: 

Encourage intermediate and advanced level students to practice working with dictionaries and recognize differences in the definitions of similar words, as well as increasing vocabularies.