Vocabulary Logs

Instructional Practice
Tier I

vocabulary log worksheets
folder or notebook
reading selection with identified vocabulary words

Target Student

All students can benefit from this learning strategy.


Vocabulary Logs are a graphic organizer of learned words that students can use to deepen their understanding of words beyond the context of a reading selection. Using vocabulary logs, students can review/revisit learned words and continue to strengthen the understanding of word meanings. Vocabulary logs can be used in conjunction with any other vocabulary strategies or in Tier 1 instruction with the whole class.


The use of vocabulary logs is a type of instructional practice. Instructional Practices are teaching practices that guide interactions in the classroom. In secondary grades, students can also keep and complete the vocabulary logs independently (or with partners)

How To

The graphic organizer used for vocabulary logs is designed to be completed over a week (or more) of instruction. This is so students can deepen their understanding of words and understand how they are used beyond the context of a particular reading selection. Daily interaction with the vocabulary log is recommended.


The vocabulary log graphic organizer is divided into four columns. The first column is for the word, its forms, and a picture. The second column is for the definition of the word. The third column is for the quote from the text containing the vocabulary word and the fourth column is for student-created sentences using the word or one of its forms. Teachers can adapt this basic model to include other components.  The daily guidelines are a suggestion only.  If students need more time (or if time is limited), adaptations can be made.

Day 1. The teacher should introduce one to three new words from a reading selection. For each word, the teacher should provide student-friendly definitions and discuss the word, its different forms, and its use. The teacher should demonstrate on chart paper (or a whiteboard, etc.). Students should copy each word, its forms, and the definition in their vocabulary logs. Students may also be prompted to use the word (or one of its forms) in a sentence with an elbow partner.

Day 2. The teacher should review the word, its forms, and definition. At this time, antonyms or synonyms can also be added if desired. Students should then be directed to reread the passage to find the word, then copy one or two sentences that include the word. The purpose of this step is for students to see how the word is used in context.

Day 3. The teacher should review the word, its forms, and definition. Students should be directed to read the quotes aloud from the text and discuss how the word is used. The teacher should then ask the students to write a sentence of their own using the word or one of its variations.

Days 4 and 5. The teacher should continue to review and have the students add new sentences of their own. Students should also be directed to read their sentences aloud to peers and discuss any similarities/differences they may find.


Adapted from Haager, D., Dimino, J. A., & Windmueller, M. P. (2007). Interventions for reading success. London: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.


Newton, J. (2001). Options for vocabulary learning through communication tasks. ELT Journal, 55(1), 30-37.

Related Resources

Adapted Vocabulary Logs

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