W is an important letter. Both in terms of sound and in terms of history, it sits between vowels and consonants. As anyone who's paid attention to a baby's babbling knows, it's also one of the first sounds many children learn to vocalize, and indeed to misspeak in place of sounds like R and L.
One of the best ways past this linguistic hurdle is to teach W words for kids. Here, we present W words lists and letter W activities developed with language development in mind.
For pre-literate youngsters, studying vocabulary has one all-important goal: make the link between the W sound, spoken and heard, and the letter W written on the page. We've emphasized concrete, vivid concepts to help your youngest students make that connection in this first word list.
Our letter W activity for preschool and kindergarten students is designed to help young students connect the written word with spoken language even before they're reading. We've developed a trace-the-letter activity for your preschool and kindergarten students so they have a clear feel for the letter W.
As your students begin to read, providing them with W words they recognize is vital. Nothing reinforces vocabulary like proof, printed clear on a page, that these words are real and used. We've included many of the most common W words in English on this list to provide that kind of reinforcement.
The question words (what, when, where, who and why) can still be tricky at this age. We've crafted an activity to help. Using the downloadable PDF below, your students will be able to write and read a story based on the five fundamental question words.
Especially with all the question words on the previous list, your 2nd graders are likely familiar with at least a few of the words we've chosen on these lists. Treat that as an opportunity rather than a problem. This is a chance to reinforce what your students have already learned and make sure those connections stick.
Second grade is a very visual age. Linking images to concepts -- pictures or videos of whales, wombats and sheep-shearing go a long way with students this age -- will help build a foundation of literacy.
At this age, students may start to get ahead of you. As before, that's a feature, not a bug. Encourage students to share and define W words they've encountered on their own, as well as memorizing the words on our chosen list.
Physical examples of these words are both reasonably easy to come by and are guaranteed to set memorable images in your students' minds. If you can get your hands on a real (ideally untenanted) beehive, or enough open space to run out 100 feet of wire, you're sure to make that vital real-world association with these W words for your students.
Fourth grade should be the beginning of moving beyond rote vocabulary exercises and into the larger context of language. We've chosen our 4th grade W words to suit that goal.
Our lists of W words are designed to help your students share and connect their experiences. Encourage them to identify animals that are part of the local wildlife. Ask them for situations in which it's appropriate to whisper. Show them pictures of animal warrens: rabbits, moles, badgers, or naked mole rats if you'd like. It's all about connecting language to the world at large.
For all that W occupies a curious space in our language, it's key to some of our most basic vocabulary. These W word lists are designed to help elementary students of all ages get to grips with that vocabulary in ways that make sense to them.
For more enriching vocabulary, take a look at our words starting with M! We've amassed a multiplicity of multifarious M words for miniscule and maximal students alike!