Kinesthetic Strategies Increase Vocabulary Recall

Vocabulary interventions for RTIMany students who may need a vocabulary intervention are Bodily-Kinesthetic learners, meaning they learn through their bodies and they need to “move” their bodies in order to learn at their highest potential.

These six strategies will help, those students, and all your students, learn, by making movement a positive learning force in your classroom:

1. Have your students act out vocabulary words with their bodies.  If used as a “skit” activity, this will give them a visual picture to remember their words. When students perform their vocabulary words, they associate the movement, through muscle memory, with their vocabulary and visual learners will benefit, as well.

2. Have the class clap out the syllables of their vocabulary words while they chant or speak them out loud.  This is a great strategy for helping kids remember long and multisyllabic words as it applies to both auditory and kinesthetic learners.

3. Kinesthetic Alphabetizing: Put vocabulary words on individual cards and pass them out to the class.  Then have them move around the room and, at a signal from you, form groups (of five or less, depending on grade level and vocabulary) and line up in alphabetical order. Once they are lined up, each student will recite their word, along with a definition and the spelling of the word. This strategy is great for kinesthetic learners and linear thinkers.

4. Kinesthetic Prepositions: Have students use an object such as a pencil and hold it in, under, over, next to, beside, or above their desk to act out prepositions. The brain associates the position of the object, and the movement, with the preposition.

5. Teach students to finger spell their vocabulary and spelling words using sign language. Not only will they learn vocabulary, they’ll learn a great skill at the same time. Finger spelling has proven to be a valuable tool for many children who struggle with vocabulary and spelling.

6. Build vocabulary skills at home: Suggest to parents that they turn on the closed captioning when their kids watch television. Even though students may not focus on the words shown on the screen, their brains will “see” the words and help to support what they are actively viewing.

How To Teach Mnemonic Movement Cues so Students Learn More!


RTI Strategies for Secondary TeachersFor more information on differentiation and Response to Intervention, see Susan Fitzell’s book, RTI Strategies for Secondary Teachers.

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