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.
Words That Start With J For Kids
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.
1st Grade Words That Start With J
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."
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
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!