What words should fourth graders know?

If you had to devise a list of 100 vocabulary words that every fourth grader should know, what words would you include?  (You can assume fourth graders already know basic words like “no” and “went,” and words learned in previous grades, words like “multiplication,” “noun,” “habitat” and “community.”)

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Would you include “jar” on your list?  How about “malicious”?

Both words made the list compiled by the editors of the American Heritage Dictionary.  See if you know them all:

 

accommodate
afterthought
allegiance
aloft
ancestor
anticipation
antics
apparel
ascend
beckon
brink
catastrophe
coax
compassion
complexion
content
courteous
cringe
derelict
dignity
distaste
dormant
elaborate
endure
enforce
exertion
expanse
extraordinary
foliage
foremost
frank
function
futile
gaze
glimmer
glimpse
grimace
headstrong
hesitate
hoist
immense
imperceptibly
indication
inscription
instinctive
intent
interior
jar
keepsake
knack
literacy
lurch
makeshift
malicious
massive
meager
melancholy
merge
mingle
minuscule
momentary
nape
nimble
obstinate
opt
overwhelming
pact
pandemonium
persuade
phenomenal
ponder
quantity
quaver
quench
radiant
ravine
recipient
resentful
satisfactory
sensitive
sentiment
shudder
sickly
sleek
solemn
soothe
stagger
stern
tantalize
temptation
transform
unscrupulous
vain
vengeance
violate
vital
vivid
wistful
yield
zest

If you are working with your child on expanding her vocabulary, and you are not using a vocabulary book, this list might be a good place to begin.  (It comes in book form at the American Heritage Dictionary website, https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/hundredfourth.html.)

  • Start with one or two words a day. It’s better to learn the words slowly and remember them than to cram and later forget most of them.
  • Ask your child to pronounce the new word first, and make sure she can read and pronounce it correctly.
  • Explain the meaning or meanings. Some of these words, like “frank” and “vain,” have multiple meanings.  Make sure your child learns all the commonly used ones.
  • Ask her to write each word in a sentence which demonstrates the meaning. “I see a nape” does not show that the child understands the word “nape,” but “The barber buzzed the hair on the nape of Dad’s neck” shows the child does understand.
  • Review, review, review. The more times the child encounters the words, the more likely she is to remember and use them herself.

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