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Lesson Plan

Learning Vocabulary Down By the Bay

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Grades K – 1
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Six 30- to 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Melissa Weimer

Waterford, Michigan


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



Being able to fluently read common vocabulary words can make reading easier and lead to greater comprehension. This lesson is most appropriate for kindergarteners or first graders. The lesson uses a popular children's song that contains several high-frequency vocabulary words to assist students in recognizing, reading, writing, and using the words in several contexts. Students sing the song repeatedly, while following along with a picture book that contains the lyrics and illustrations. They are then encouraged to participate in several hands-on activities to reinforce learning of the vocabulary words.

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Word-building activity sheet: Students will use one set of the letter squares from this handout to build some of the most frequently used words in the song "Down By the Bay."

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Routier, W.J. (2003, May). Read me a song: Teaching reading using picture book songs. Paper presented at the International Reading Association 2003 Annual Convention, Orlando, FL.

  • Proficient readers recognize most words quickly, allowing them to focus on the meaning of text. Approximately 300 words make up 65% of all words in texts. Rapid recognition of these words during the early years forms the foundation of fluent reading.

  • The Dolch words are the 220 most frequently found words in children's books. Many of these words cannot be sounded out and are, therefore, learned as sight words.

  • Music can be used to help children learn sight words.

  • Using picture books of songs can encourage children to "read" the favorite songs they already know.

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