How to Learn Vocabulary in Primary 1 English

How to Learn Vocabulary in Primary 1 English: A Comprehensive Guide

Point Form

  1. Daily Reading:
    • Example: Read a storybook like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. Extract new words such as “caterpillar,” “butterfly,” and “cocoon.”
  2. Using Flashcards:
    • Example: Create a flashcard with the word “butterfly” on one side and its definition and a sentence using it on the other side.
  3. Word Games:
    • Example: Play a game of Scrabble. Try to form the word “caterpillar.”
  4. Contextual Learning:
    • Example: Use the word “cocoon” in a sentence – “The caterpillar turns into a butterfly in its cocoon.”
  5. Technology Utilization:
    • Example: Use an app like to learn and practice the words “caterpillar,” “butterfly,” and “cocoon.”

Table Format

MethodVocabulary WordExample of Learning
Daily ReadingCaterpillarRead “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle and identify the word “caterpillar.”
Using FlashcardsButterflyCreate a flashcard with the word “butterfly” on one side and its definition and a sentence using it on the other side.
Word GamesCaterpillarPlay a game of Scrabble. Try to form the word “caterpillar.”
Contextual LearningCocoonUse the word “cocoon” in a sentence – “The caterpillar turns into a butterfly in its cocoon.”
Technology UtilizationCocoonUse an app like to learn and practice the word “cocoon.”

By utilizing a variety of methods and incorporating diverse vocabulary words, children can learn effectively in a fun, engaging manner.

Use this link to learn more vocabulary words:

Top 100 PSLE Primary 1 Vocabulary List: Level Advanced

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Importance of Vocabulary in Primary 1
  • Proven Methods to Improve Vocabulary
  • How to Learn Vocabulary in Primary 1
  • Preparing for Vocabulary Learning
  • Ensuring Success in Vocabulary Learning
  • Reasons for Emphasizing Vocabulary Learning
  • Useful Resources for Vocabulary Learning
  • Conclusion


The foundation of a child’s learning journey begins in Primary 1. One of the key components of this initial educational experience is vocabulary building, which greatly contributes to a child’s reading, writing, and communication skills. This comprehensive guide provides in-depth strategies on how to learn vocabulary in Primary 1 effectively, ensuring a successful start in your child’s PSLE academic career.

eduKate Parent’s Review

  1. Review by Michelle Lim .:
    • “The ‘Primary 1 English Vocabulary’ guide has been a game-changer for our family. Initially, my son was hesitant about English, but introducing the ‘word of the day’ and ‘flashcards’ made him so much more enthusiastic. The ‘interactive craft activity’ mentioned was a hit! Consistency was key, and I appreciated the emphasis on ‘positive reinforcement’. It made a noticeable difference in his confidence.”
  2. Review by Sally Aw.:
    • “I was looking for a structured approach to boost my daughter’s ‘Primary 1 English vocabulary’ at home, and this guide delivered. The ’12-week plan’ was practical and adaptable. We especially enjoyed the ‘read aloud sessions’ and found the tips on ‘modeling’ and ‘active engagement’ very effective. The article underscored the importance of patience, which reminded me to appreciate her pace of learning.”
  3. Review by Sophia Goh.:
    • “This ‘Primary 1 English Vocabulary’ article is a comprehensive resource for parents like me. I was particularly impressed by the emphasis on ’empathy’ and ‘cultural exposure’. It’s not just about cramming words but understanding them in context. The ‘label household items’ tip was simple yet brilliant. My child now points at objects and recites their names in English with pride!”

The Importance of Vocabulary in Primary 1

In Primary 1, children start to encounter a variety of words and phrases, establishing their fundamental vocabulary base. This stage is crucial, as a rich vocabulary:

  • Facilitates comprehension and fluency in reading.
  • Enhances their expressive capabilities.
  • Encourages critical thinking and creativity.
  • Serves as a foundation for future academic success.

Proven Methods to Improve Vocabulary

Here are several proven methods that can enhance your child’s vocabulary:

  1. Regular Reading: Children’s books, articles, and educational websites are excellent sources of new words.
  2. Using Flashcards: Flashcards with a word on one sideand its definition on the other are great for learning and review.
  3. Word Games: Games like Scrabble, Boggle, or online word games can make learning fun and engaging.
  4. Contextual Learning: Encourage the use of new words in sentences to understand their context and usage.

How to Learn Vocabulary in Primary 1

Learning vocabulary should not be a daunting task. Here are some practical steps:

  1. Establish a Reading Habit: Encourage your child to read daily. Be it storybooks or educational magazines, each offers an opportunity to encounter new words.
  2. Regular Vocabulary Review: Review and repeat new words regularly. The more often a word is encountered, the more likely it is to be remembered.
  3. Engage in Conversations: Speak with your child frequently. Use new words and encourage them to do the same.
  4. Make Use of Technology: There are numerous educational apps and websites that offer vocabulary exercises catered to Primary 1 students.

Preparing for Vocabulary Learning

Preparation is key to vocabulary learning success. Here are some steps:

  1. Set a Learning Schedule: Consistency is important. Set a daily time for vocabulary learning.
  2. Prepare Learning Materials: This can include books, flashcards, or digital resources.
  3. Create a Conducive Learning Environment: Ensure the learning space is quiet and free of distractions.
  4. Set Achievable Goals: Start with a few words daily and gradually increase.

Ensuring Success in Vocabulary Learning

Following the strategies is not enough; continuous effort and review are also necessary. Here’s what can be done:

  1. Monitor Progress: Regularly check your child’s vocabulary progress. This could be through regular quizzes or asking your child to use new words in sentences.
  2. Provide Positive Reinforcement: Praise your child’s efforts and accomplishments to motivate them.
  3. Revisit and Repeat: Repetition is key in vocabulary learning. Frequently revisit new words to reinforce their memory.
  4. Seek Professional Help if Necessary: If your child struggles with vocabulary learning, consider seeking help from a professional tutor or learning center.

Reasons for Emphasizing Vocabulary Learning

Here are several reasons why it’s important to emphasize vocabulary learning:

  • Vocabulary is a key component in understanding text and expressing thoughts.
  • It enhances the ability to communicate effectively.
  • A strong vocabulary helps in achieving academic success.
  • It boosts confidence in reading, writing, and speaking.

Useful Resources for Vocabulary Learning

Here are some international websites offering vocabulary learning resources:

  1. Oxford Owl: A site full of free resources to help with children’s learning, including vocabulary.
  2. BBC Bitesize: This site provides a variety of educational resources for children, including language and vocabulary resources.
  3. ReadWorks: Offers plenty of reading passages to improve comprehension and vocabulary.
  4. A powerful platform for vocabulary learning with an adaptive learning system.

Learning vocabulary in Primary 1 English requires a multi-faceted approach that combines both formal instruction and playful engagement. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help Primary 1 students expand their vocabulary:

  1. Use Flashcards:
    • Create or purchase sets of flashcards with a word on one side and its meaning or a relevant picture on the other.
    • Review these cards regularly, making it a fun game of memory and recognition.
    • Engage in active recall, where the child tries to remember the word upon seeing the picture or vice versa.
  2. Read Aloud Together:
    • Choose age-appropriate storybooks.
    • While reading, stop occasionally to discuss unfamiliar words.
    • Encourage the child to guess the meaning from context.
    • After reading, review and discuss the new words.
  3. Play Word Games:
    • Games like “I spy,” crossword puzzles, word search, and board games like “Scrabble Junior” can be both fun and educational.
    • Mobile apps and online games can also be utilized, but screen time should be limited.
  4. Keep a Vocabulary Journal:
    • Encourage the child to write down new words they come across.
    • Once a week, review the words together, discussing their meanings and using them in sentences.
  5. Songs and Rhymes:
    • Kids often remember words better when they’re set to music or rhyme.
    • Use nursery rhymes, songs, or even make up your own to introduce new words.
  6. Use the Words in Daily Conversation:
    • Introduce a “word of the day” and try to use it in sentences throughout the day.
    • Encourage the child to do the same.
  7. Engage in Interactive Activities:
    • Crafts, drawing, and other hands-on activities can be themed around specific vocabulary words.
    • For example, after learning the word “butterfly,” they could make a butterfly craft.
  8. Label Household Items:
    • Place labels on common items around the house, like “door,” “window,” “chair,” etc.
    • This constant visual reminder can help reinforce their vocabulary.
  9. Story Creation:
    • Have the child create their own stories using a set of given vocabulary words. This encourages both creativity and vocabulary usage.
  10. Positive Reinforcement:
  • Praise and reward the child when they use a new word correctly. This could be verbal praise, stickers, or a small treat.
  • This positive reinforcement can motivate them to continue learning and using new words.
  1. Consistent Review:
  • Periodically review the words learned over the past weeks or months. Repetition helps solidify memory.
  1. Engage in Social Interaction:
  • Playdates, group classes, or other social activities can provide a natural environment for children to use and learn new words.

Lastly, it’s crucial to be patient. Every child learns at their own pace, and the key is to make the process enjoyable and not overly stressful. Celebrate small victories and ensure that the child associates learning with fun and positivity.

Parenting 101: Skills for Disciplined Vocabulary Training

  1. Consistency:
    • Keywords: Routine, Regularity, Stability
    • Insight: Following the weekly plan regularly instills a sense of discipline. Being consistent with activities like ‘word of the day’ ensures that learning becomes a part of daily life.
  2. Patience:
    • Keywords: Understanding, Tolerance, Perseverance
    • Insight: Children learn at their own pace. It’s vital for parents to be patient and give them the time they need, especially when grappling with new words.
  3. Active Engagement:
    • Keywords: Participation, Involvement, Interaction
    • Insight: Actively participating in activities, whether it’s reading aloud or crafting, keeps children motivated and shows them that learning is a collaborative effort.
  4. Positive Reinforcement:
    • Keywords: Praise, Reward, Encouragement
    • Insight: Recognizing and rewarding efforts, even if small, boosts a child’s confidence. It motivates them to continue their vocabulary journey.
  5. Adaptability:
    • Keywords: Flexibility, Adjustability, Resilience
    • Insight: Every child is unique. Parents might need to adjust the plan based on the child’s progress and preferences. Being adaptable ensures that learning remains enjoyable.
  6. Effective Communication:
    • Keywords: Clarity, Listening, Feedback
    • Insight: Discussing the child’s progress with the tutor, and most importantly, listening to the child’s feedback ensures a more tailored learning experience.
  7. Resourcefulness:
    • Keywords: Creativity, Initiative, Ingenuity
    • Insight: Using household items for labels or turning mundane activities into vocabulary lessons showcases resourcefulness, making learning feel organic.
  8. Modeling:
    • Keywords: Demonstration, Example, Guiding
    • Insight: Children often imitate adults. Using rich vocabulary in daily conversations sets a positive example for them to follow.
  9. Boundaries Setting:
    • Keywords: Rules, Limits, Structure
    • Insight: While it’s essential to keep learning fun, setting boundaries, like screen time limits or dedicated study hours, ensures discipline.
  10. Empathy:
  • Keywords: Compassion, Understanding, Sensitivity
  • Insight: Recognizing a child’s feelings and frustrations, especially when they find certain words challenging, creates a supportive learning environment.

Incorporating these skills into the vocabulary improvement journey with a tutor not only boosts the child’s word bank but also instills discipline, making learning a cherished activity rather than a chore.

Nurturing a child for learning English and vocabulary requires a combination of practical skills and emotional intelligence. Here’s a deep dive into some essential parenting skills that can significantly aid in this process:

  1. Active Listening:
    • Significance: This skill involves fully concentrating, understanding, and responding to what the child says. By actively listening, parents can understand the child’s strengths, challenges, and interests in learning English.
    • Application: When a child shares their experiences or tries to use new words, listening attentively and responding positively can encourage further exploration.
  2. Patience:
    • Significance: Language acquisition is a complex process, and every child learns at their own pace. Being patient helps to maintain a positive learning environment.
    • Application: Avoid showing frustration if the child struggles with pronunciation or understanding. Instead, offer gentle corrections and encouragement.
  3. Consistency:
    • Significance: Consistent exposure and practice are key to language learning.
    • Application: Ensure regular reading sessions, vocabulary exercises, and conversations in English to facilitate continuous learning.
  4. Positive Reinforcement:
    • Significance: Positive feedback boosts a child’s confidence and motivation.
    • Application: Celebrate small achievements, like learning a new word or constructing a sentence correctly. Use praises, stickers, or small rewards.
  5. Modeling:
    • Significance: Children often emulate their parents. Demonstrating good language habits can set the right precedent.
    • Application: Use a rich vocabulary in daily conversations and read aloud, emphasizing pronunciation and rhythm.
  6. Adaptability:
    • Significance: Every child’s learning style is unique. Being adaptable ensures that teaching methods align with the child’s needs.
    • Application: If a particular method isn’t effective, be willing to try a different approach, like visual aids, songs, or interactive games.
  7. Empathy:
    • Significance: Understanding and sharing the feelings of another fosters a supportive environment.
    • Application: Recognize when your child feels overwhelmed or frustrated and provide comfort, reassurance, or even breaks when needed.
  8. Engagement:
    • Significance: Actively engaging with the child in their learning journey can make it more enjoyable and effective.
    • Application: Participate in activities like word games, story creation, and discussions. Show genuine interest in their progress.
  9. Resourcefulness:
    • Significance: Creative solutions can make language learning more captivating.
    • Application: Use household items, mobile apps, online resources, or community events to introduce new words and concepts.
  10. Boundaries Setting:
  • Significance: While exploration is essential, it’s also crucial to set boundaries to instill discipline.
  • Application: Establish structured study hours, limit distractions during learning sessions, and ensure balanced screen time.
  1. Cultural Exposure:
  • Significance: Understanding the culture behind the language can enhance the learning experience.
  • Application: Introduce English-speaking cultures through stories, movies, festivals, or even food.
  1. Encouraging Curiosity:
  • Significance: An inquisitive mind is more receptive to new information.
  • Application: Foster an environment where questions are encouraged. If you don’t know an answer, make it a joint activity to find out.

By integrating these skills into the language learning process, parents can not only aid in their child’s English and vocabulary development but also instill a lifelong love for learning.

Worklist for Parents

Here’s a sample worklist for parents looking to enhance their child’s vocabulary in collaboration with a Primary 1 English tutor:

WeekActivityParent’s RoleTutor’s RoleMaterials/Notes
1Introduce FlashcardsMake or buy flashcardsReview words with childSet of 20 beginner words
2Read Aloud SessionChoose a book and read with the childDiscuss and highlight new wordsAge-appropriate storybook
3Word GamesPlay a board game with the childIntroduce online word games“Scrabble Junior”, word search app
4Vocabulary Journal SetupBuy a journalGuide child on how to note down wordsSmall notebook or diary
5Singing and RhymesSing songs with childIntroduce rhymes with new vocabularySongs and rhymes book or app
6Daily ConversationsUse the ‘word of the day’ in conversationsProvide a ‘word of the day’ listList of basic words
7Interactive Craft ActivityPrepare craft materialsGuide child on themed craft activityCraft materials, themed to vocabulary
8Label Household ItemsPlace labels around the houseReview the words with the childSticky labels, marker
9Story CreationListen to child’s storyHelp child create a story with new wordsVocabulary words from previous weeks
10Review and Positive Reinforcement SessionProvide small rewardsReview all words, praise for achievementsStickers, small treats
11Social InteractionOrganize a playdateDiscuss vocabulary learned with friendsPlaydate with activities
12Overall Review and Future PlanningDiscuss progress with tutorAssess child’s vocabulary growthFeedback form for tutor

Note: This is a sample 12-week plan, which can be adjusted based on the child’s pace and preferences. The key is to make each activity engaging and enjoyable for the child. Collaboration between the parent, tutor, and child is essential for the best results.

Transition between Kidergarten, Primary 1 and Primary 2 Vocabulary

Transitioning through the early years of a child’s educational journey, especially in English vocabulary acquisition, involves a progressive increase in complexity, depth, and application. Let’s break down this transition from Kindergarten to Primary 1 and then to Primary 2 in terms of English vocabulary requirements and mastery levels:


  • Vocabulary Requirements:
    • Initial introduction to basic English words, often related to everyday objects, family members, colors, shapes, numbers, and simple actions.
    • Familiarity with commonly used phrases and greetings.
  • Mastery Levels:
    • Recognition: Children should be able to recognize and understand commonly used words when they hear them.
    • Repetition: They should be able to repeat words after their teacher or through songs and rhymes.
    • Usage: Begin to use these words in very simple sentences or phrases.

Primary 1:

  • Vocabulary Requirements:
    • Expansion of the vocabulary bank to include more varied words related to school subjects, feelings, weather, time, etc.
    • Introduction to simple grammar structures, leading to the formation of basic sentences.
    • Start to recognize and read words in written form, progressing from phonics-based reading to more fluent reading of simple texts.
  • Mastery Levels:
    • Understanding: Beyond mere recognition, children should understand the context in which words are used.
    • Application: They should be able to apply the vocabulary in forming sentences, both in spoken and written forms.
    • Reading & Comprehension: Start reading simple stories and comprehending the plot, characters, and basic morals or messages.

Primary 2:

  • Vocabulary Requirements:
    • Further expansion of vocabulary to include words that are slightly more complex and abstract. This might involve introducing adjectives, adverbs, and more complex nouns and verbs.
    • Delving deeper into grammar structures, which naturally broadens vocabulary as children learn about antonyms, synonyms, prefixes, and suffixes.
    • Reading becomes more advanced, with children being exposed to longer texts, poetry, and more intricate stories.
  • Mastery Levels:
    • Analytical Skills: Children should begin to analyze the usage of words in various contexts, distinguishing between similar words, understanding nuances, and making connections between related words.
    • Fluent Reading & Advanced Comprehension: The ability to read longer passages fluently, answer comprehension questions, and discuss the content.
    • Usage in Varied Contexts: Children should be adept at using their expanded vocabulary in different contexts – from writing short essays to engaging in detailed oral conversations.


Building a robust vocabulary in Primary 1 is a stepping stone towards a successful academic journey. With the right approach, consistent effort, and proper resources, you can effectively help your child learn vocabulary. Remember, every child is unique and learns at their own pace, so ensure to make vocabulary learning fun, engaging, and stress-free.

The transition from Kindergarten through Primary 1 to Primary 2 sees a shift from basic recognition and repetition to understanding, application, and eventually, analysis and fluent usage. This progression ensures that children are not just memorizing words but truly understanding and utilizing them, laying a strong foundation for their future English language journey.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What’s the main difference in vocabulary requirements between Kindergarten and Primary 1?
    • Answer: The primary difference lies in complexity and depth. While Kindergarten focuses on basic English words related to daily life and simple actions, Primary 1 expands this base to include more varied words, introduces basic grammar, and emphasizes reading and comprehension.
  2. How do mastery levels evolve from Kindergarten to Primary 2?
    • Answer: In Kindergarten, the focus is on recognition, repetition, and basic usage. By Primary 1, understanding and application become crucial, with reading comprehension introduced. By Primary 2, analytical skills are honed, reading becomes more fluent, and comprehension deepens.
  3. Are grammar structures introduced in Kindergarten?
    • Answer: Not extensively. Kindergarten primarily centers on basic word recognition and simple sentence formation. It’s in Primary 1 where grammar structures are introduced more systematically, aiding in the formation of more complex sentences.
  4. How can parents support their child’s transition in vocabulary mastery from Primary 1 to Primary 2?
    • Answer: Engaging in regular reading sessions, encouraging discussions, playing vocabulary-based games, and providing exposure to varied texts can help. Recognizing and praising progress, while also offering gentle corrections, will ensure steady growth.
  5. Is reading comprehension essential in Primary 1?
    • Answer: Yes, reading comprehension starts to become significant in Primary 1. Children begin reading simple stories and should be able to grasp basic plot elements. This foundation is essential for the more advanced comprehension expected in Primary 2.
  6. Will my child be expected to write essays in Primary 2?
    • Answer: While “essays” might be a strong term, by Primary 2, children are typically expected to craft short paragraphs or compositions using their expanded vocabulary and understanding of grammar.
  7. How do nuances in vocabulary get introduced in Primary 2?
    • Answer: Primary 2 delves into areas like antonyms, synonyms, prefixes, and suffixes. Through these, children begin to understand subtle differences between similar words and the nuances of the English language.
  8. Are there specific resources recommended for each transition phase?
    • Answer: Each phase has its unique requirements. For Kindergarten, picture books and rhymes are great. Primary 1 benefits from beginner-level storybooks and basic grammar workbooks. By Primary 2, diversified reading materials, including poetry and longer stories, are beneficial.
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