I am working on a PEMBROKE  publication about helping students gain word power by collecting, inspecting and hoarding words.  The book (title TBD) will be forthcoming in the fall.  As the school year, begins I would like to share some thoughts about helping to build students love of words and am providing the following excerpt from my manuscript and outlining some picture book titles to support this initiative.



 from The Word Collector by PETER REYNOLDS

The Word Collector

The hero of Peter H. Reynolds picture book is a word collector. Jerome delights in inspecting, and collecting and filling his scrapbooks words that he HEARD, that he SAW, that he READ. No teacher guide is needed for ‘using’ this book with young people. Reynolds presents an invitation for readers young and old to pay attention (and collect) words that are short, that are sweet, words that puzzle or mystify, words that are simple, words that are powerful, words that are marvelous to say, to enrich our language power and to carry in our language knapsacks to take out as needed when reading, writing and conversing. Peter (and Jerome) lead readers into thinking about and reaching for their own words to make their worlds better.

Many titles are available are specifically written to celebrate the engagement with words. For pre-school children there are several titles available to help them identify, name and label things. Many picture books have also been written to demonstrate how words are important in the lives of the fictitious characters, words that enrich their vocabulary and word power.


1. Encourage children become word collectors by providing them with their personal Word Collecting booklets. Students can collect words that they view (in the environment), hear (in conversations and discussions) and read (independently in books).

2. Students complete the following sentence stem…


These word choices can be shared in a class discussion or perhaps be displayed in a class blog, on a bulletin board.

3. Invite students to suggest names of pets that they know. These names can be listed on a chart. Survey the class to determine the favourite name that be used for a household pet or perhapsa pet dragon.

4. Create a classroom bulletin board entitled “We Collect Words”. Using post it notes, or strips of paper, students can be word detectives and record new, strange, or interesting words that they wish to share with others.

5. Challenge students to collect ten to twelve words on a specific topic (e.g., names of places,colours, feelings or a spelling pattern (three syllable words, words with two different vowels, long words). Students can then put an asterisk beside the three most interesting words on their list.

6. Students write three favourite words they’ve collected on a piece of paper. Papers are put into a hat, box or jar. Students gather in a circle and each select a slip of paper with the three words.

7. Invite students to focus on a specific topic or spelling pattern. Challenge students to go on a word in books they’ve read that fit the pattern.

8. Collect paint chip samples from a local hardware store. If possible, provide each student with a single sample strip. Which colour name is their favourite? As a follow up, some students may be challenged to invent new names for colours (for crayons or markers, for ice cream flavours, or nail polish).

9. Have students collect favourite words over a one-week period that can be displayed alphabetically on a word wall. As a follow-up activity, survey the students to find out which of the collected words are their favourites.

10. Students complete the following sentence stems that have them list words on a specific topic

My favourite smell is…

My favourite crayon colour is… One word to describe me is…

The longest word I know that begins with the letter’s’ is… Here is a four-syllable word I know…

Here is a word I know with three different vowels…


Selig loved everything about words – the sound of them in his ears (tintinnabulating), the taste of them on his tongue (tantalizing), the thought of them when they percolated in his brain (stirring), and most especially, the feel of them when they moved his heart (Mama!).

From The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter: illus. Giselle Potter

LEARNING ABOUT WORDS: Toddlers ages 2 to 5

My Very First Book of Words by Eric Carle

Maisy’s Amazing Big Book of Words by Lucy Cousins

Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis; Illus. Laura Cornell

Llama Llama Loves to Read by Anna Dewdney

Touch: My Big Touch-and-feel Word Book by Xavier Deneux

Baby’s First Word will be DADA by Jimmy Fallon (also: Everything is MAMA)

Cassie’s Word Quilt by Faith Ringgold

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills

Bob Books: Sight Words Kindergarten Set Lynn Maslen Kertell

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy

Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever by Richard Scarry

Carlo Like Reading by Jessica Spanyov



Alphabet Soup by Kate Banks; illus. by Peter Sis

Max’s Words by Kate Banks; Boris Kulikov

Donovan’s Word Jar by MonaLisa DeGross

Stolen Words by Melanie Florence; illus. by Gabrielle Grimard

Miss Alaineus: A vocabulary disaster by Debra Frasier

Other Wordly: words both strange and lovely from around the world by Yee-Lum Mak; illus. by Kelsey Garrety-Riley

Fancy Nancy (series) by Jane O’Connor; illus. Robin Preiss Glasser

Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds Words Lora Rozler

Did you Take the B from my_ ook? Beck & Matt Stanton

Thesaurus Rex by Laya Steinberg; illus. Debbie Harter

The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter; illustrated by Giselle Potter

The Word Collector by Sonja Wimmer