Vocabulary folders are a convenient way to organize vocabulary pages. I used illustrated vocabulary sheets to help my English Language Learners speak and write about new vocabulary. They are also helpful for younger students with spelling. Some primary classroom teachers I supported had a set of these folders on student tables or in a writing center. All students had access to them. I also used them with small groups of ELLs. These folders are simple to set up.
Vocabulary Folders Set Up
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All you need are:
file folders with brads (or a 3 ring binder)
Using a file folder with brads or a 3 ring binder gave me flexibility if I wanted to change how the pages were organized or add additional pages of vocabulary.
At the beginning of the year, I set up 6 folders, which was enough for most of the small groups of students I worked with. I added pages for the alphabet, letter sounds, character traits, and seasonal words. I also included some empty sheet protectors in the back of the folder so that I could quickly add new vocabulary pages during the school year.
Using the Vocabulary Folders
My ELLs used these vocabulary folders in a variety of ways. For newcomers, I could take out the pages about food or nouns, and the student could point to an object as a part of a group discussion. As their language increased, they felt comfortable saying and writing down the vocabulary words.
The seasonal sheets and character traits helped to expand my student’s vocabulary and increased the variety of answers they gave to questions. When students were writing, they used the vocabulary sheets to help them with spelling.
I loved that these folders were portable. I took at least one folder with me when I went into classrooms. That way, I could easily support my ELLs with pictures even if something unexpected came up since I had a wide range of pictures available.
I have additional tips on how to support vocabulary development for ELLs.
Premade Illustrated Vocabulary Sheets
I have sets of premade illustrated vocabulary sheets available in my TPT store. You can get them separately or as a part of a money savings bundle. I suggest the Illustrated Vocabulary Words set if you want to set up a basic set. You could also glue the sheets onto two or three file folders glued together with this set. Then, students have a small “office” with vocabulary words.