The school year officially ended for students at Houston's St. Vincent de Paul School back on May 27th, but rising sixth, seventh and eighth grade students quickly got down to business in preparing for next year. Together, they mastered 11,349 words in the month of June.

As frequent readers of the blog know from our post on Reimagining Summer Reading, many of those words come from Vocabulary Lists based on summer reading assignments.

Students at St. Vincent de Paul School worked hard learning the words they will encounter in summer reading like the novels Enrique's Journey, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Long Walk to Water, and the memoir I Am Malala, books that by now they are likely reading, and if past experience is an indicator, having a more meaningful encounter with the texts than had their teachers not front-loaded the vocabulary learning. Teacher Kathy Zimbaldi said of last year's summer assignments, "When school started, students seemed more engaged in discussions, and when they wrote about the texts, the quality of the writing was higher, as compared with the book reports that students in previous years had written over the summer."

June's National Champion win is the third for St. Vincent de Paul School, which also took top honors in July and August of 2015. These wins built the momentum for an excellent performance in the 2015-2016 National Vocabulary Bowl. St. Vincent de Paul School finished in 20th place out of 23,804 schools that competed, and finishing with one of the highest words-mastered-per-student in the entire competition.

St. Vincent de Paul teachers and administrators credit student use of with far-reaching benefits.  When talking about the impact of on the school, Principal Carolyn Sears commented,  "Our Standardized test scores reflect the many benefits of using It has proven a wise investment for the students at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School."

Has created word lists for the books on your summer reading list--or works you’ll be teaching in the upcoming school year?  See our Vocabulary Lists page and use the search box in the upper left of the page. We have lists for all the most popular fiction and nonfiction titles, and we keep adding more. And, if you can't find what you need, you can create your own customized list. After your students finish the Vocabulary Lists for their reading, they might head over to The Challenge to hone their overall vocabulary. With so much vocabulary learning at their fingertips, summer doesn’t have to bring a chorus of "I'm bored!" from your students, and can even give them an edge on success when the school bell rings.