J is one of the least used letters in English, so when it does begin a word, it's worthy of note. It is often a reminder of the roots of English, standing in for the Latin initial I and even the Old English rune ger. This list of J words for kids is designed to engage students with these unique words.
Preschool/Kindergarten Words That Start With J
Many words that begin with J are simple. Letter J activities can start with simple object recognition, pointing out or drawing jackets, juice or jets.
- Jacket: A short coat
- Jar: A glass container, usually round
- Jaw: The two hinged bones that hold the mouth and teeth
- Jet: A powerful stream of liquid or gas, or an airplane powered by such a stream
- Jog: To run at a medium pace
- Joke: Something said or done to be funny
- Joy: Deep happiness
- Juice: Something to drink squeezed from a fruit or vegetable
- Jump: To move up suddenly so your feet leave the ground
- Junk: Trash or useless items
These simple J words are a wonderful way to make the all-important link between spoken sound and a written symbol. We've created a trace-the-letter exercise with that in mind.
View & Download PDF
1st Grade Words That Start With J
Most of the entries in our 1st grade J words list are concrete rather than abstract. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to get extra lessons with their vocabulary.
- Jab: To poke or thrust
- Jewel: A precious stone
- Job: One specific work project, or what someone does for money
- Join: To connect together
- Joint: A place where things are joined, especially on the human body
- Journal: A book of a person's thoughts and memories
- Journey: A long trip
- Judge: To decide or form an opinion, or a person whose job is to make legal decisions
- Juggle:To throw and catch multiple balls or other objects at the same time
- Jungle: A tropical forest
J word activities for 1st graders should help them build a sense of context around the words they're learning. Use visual aids that help them, for instance, learn the major joints in the human body. Better still, download and print the jungle coloring sheet below! The PDF also encourages young learners to take a "jab" at adding to their jungle "journal."
View & Download PDF
2nd Grade Words That Start With J
There are many verbs and active words in this list of words with J. This can be an opportunity for students to get physical.
- Jabber: Speech that is fast and hard to understand
- Jealous: Wanting something someone else has, so much it makes you angry
- Jingle: The sound of a small bell, or a short piece of music, often used in advertising
- Jinx: To give someone bad luck, or something that causes bad luck
- Jitter: To shake or fidget
- Jolt: To shock, bump or move suddenly
- Jostle: To shove, push or run into
- Jumble: A mess of scrambled-up parts
- Jury: A group of people brought together to make a legal decision
- Just: Just can mean fair or right, or it can be a synonym of "only"
If your space allows, give students the chance to act out the meanings of "jitter" and "jolt." It's a wonderful way to spend some of that youthful energy, and will create a strong kinesthetic association with the words.
3rd Grade Words That Start With J
These 3rd grade J words often have a story to tell. Engage your students with the context surrounding these words as well as the vocabulary itself.
- Jade: A hard green gem, or something of the same vivid green color
- Jag: A sudden hard projection in an object
- Jaguar: A large spotted predatory cat from Central and South America
- Jeans: Pants made of denim
- Jell: To come together, to begin to make sense or become whole
- Jersey: A pullover sweater, and by extension the pullover shirt worn by athletes
- Jig: An energetic folk dance from Britain and Ireland
- Jumbo: Unusually large
- Justice: Fairness and doing right, especially in terms of law
- Jut: To stick out from an object
Open up students' minds with the context of these words: share and encourage them to draw pictures of jaguars in their native jungle, or discuss how "jersey" went from an island chain to a sweater to a sports uniform. Quizzes with fill in the blank answers are well suited for this.
4th Grade Words That Start With J
Activities in 4th grade should engage students with the context and larger significance of the words on this list.
- Jasmine: A flowering garden plant used for perfume and tea
- Jazz: A style of music with complex arrangements and improvisations, usually featuring horns and drums
- Jellyfish: A marine invertebrate with a floating bell and often stinging tentacles
- Jester: A professional comedian from the Middle Ages
- Jiffy: A moment, a short time
- Jigsaw: A power saw with a vertical blade, or a puzzle made with that kind of saw
- Jive: To talk in an exaggerated or insincere way
- Juniper: An evergreen shrub with pointed leaves that yields oil used in flavorings
- Jupiter: The chief god of ancient Rome, and the fifth and largest planet of the solar system
- Justify: To provide an explanation for something
Playing jazz recordings or showing videos of jellyfish provide both vocabulary and context. Those experiences will help your learners connect with these words, and connect these words to the wider world.
The Book of J
J is a rare letter, but it's vital to English language and learning. It represents a synergy between the two main influences on English - German and Latin - and appears in words that make English what it is. Learning J words from our list will help enrich students' understanding of the language as a whole.
For more enriching vocabulary featuring a relatively underused letter, take a look at our words starting with C!