"I" isn't a particularly common initial letter, but when it shows up, it counts. The short, simple words beginning with "I" form much of the foundation of English; the language wouldn't function without "I" and "it" and "is." In addition, prefixes like "im-" and "in-" begin many words and, better yet, are a starting point for students to break down words into their meaningful components.
We've written this list of I words to empower educators. Use our definitions and activities to help your students, preschool to 4th grade, learn their vocabulary words beginning with I.
Several of the most important words in English are on this list. The first priority with words this fundamental is simply to make sure students memorize them.
Activities for this age should focus on the vital link between spoken sound and the written symbol I. We've created a trace-the-letter exercise with that in mind.
This list represents some of the first multisyllabic and abstract words that students will encounter.
Drawing exercises can be very useful here, as they anchor some of the abstractions to meaningful images. After going over the words a few times, students could draw the words without including the words themselves, then have other students guess what they represent.
Many of the words on this list for 2nd grade students require specific distinctions: a spider is not an insect, for example, nor is an island a continent. Get students talking about what a word isn't, and you'll have established a more detailed and specific idea of what it is.
Build an is/isn't worksheet for your students to help them firm up their understanding of words and their definitions. Download the example PDF below to get started.
Several of our 3rd grade words are multisyllabic ways of stating concepts your students likely already understand. Link these words to ideas and idioms they already use - "intend" to "mean to" or "imitate" to "act like" - to engage their associative capacity and drive home meaning.
Linking activities could include a participatory game of Another Way to Say. Each student could receive our list of I words, and the teacher could ask "What's another way to say 'mean to'?" seeking the answer, "intend."
There is a clear step up in complexity in our 4th grade words starting with I. This is the point where students can begin to engage with the text as a whole, comparing and contrasting what they're learning with what they already know.
Activities in 4th grade should engage students with the complexities of the words on this list. Ask students to differentiate between an instant and a minute, for instance, or have them draw or act out a vocabulary word without using other words. The latter has the added benefit of constituting interpretation, itself a word on this list.
As noted above, words beginning with I serve a unique role in English. Our I words list is built for students to engage with I words on that level and come away with a richer understanding of the language. For more vocabulary, complete with fun activities, check out our list of vocabulary words beginning with A!