University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Personal Word Bank

LEADERS Handbook of Early Literacy Strategies and Activities

Time: 10 minutes (can be done before class begins)
Group Style: Individual
Grade Level: 1-2


This activity helps build a sense of reading for meaning. It can also build each child's vocabulary based on the children's individual needs and backgrounds.


  • Index cards
  • Storage system (large ring or shoe box)


  1. Each day, ask the student to identify a word that he/she would like to learn.
  2. Print the word on a card.
  3. In 5 days, the child will have 5 new words.
  4. You can then have the child read their personal words to a friend, teacher, or parent.
  5. You could also use the words for skill review, i.e. ask them to find certain words such as...any 3 syllable words or action words, words that begin with "m", etc.

Teacher Comments

Students enjoy having their own personal words.