Vocabulary Exercises with the Captain Underpants Books

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The Adventures of Captain Underpants books by Dave Pilkey, have enough nastiness, obnoxious silliness and coolness to keep your young readers flipping each page for more of the same. But reading can’t be all about fun, can it? Aside from the unruly humor that students find in these books, there are hidden gems of intellectualism. For those times when you actually want to teach your students from these books this article will come in quite handy. “Captain Underpants” provides vocabulary exercises by the bucketful when you know have this selection in your teaching toolbox.

Vocabulary Building Strategies

  • Ask students to write down words that they do not know to make a list for dictionary research for word meaning. Also, advise them to look for contextual clues in the sentence containing the word to help them with pronunciation. Example: “Mr. Krupp continued, “I could get you both expelled for this!”

  • Take the compiled list of the student’s unknown terms to create a quiz. When the quiz is complete, ask them to use the words in a sentence and then discuss the words’ context.

  • List a word from the text as the word of the day.

  • Take several “Underpants” terms list on the word wall.

  • Give students a word to define and use as the listing for that particular word from the text. Have them use the internet to complete the task and ask them to find or draw a picture to accompany it.

  • Give students scrambled terms that they are unfamiliar with prior to reading the text as a list to check off as they come across in the book.

  • Create a word search of Underpants terms using the SchoolExpress Word Search Maker and the Crossword Puzzle Games Create a Crossword maker.

  • Use the “Crossword Puzzle Games” maker to make a crossword but without hints for a challenge (students may need a word list).

  • Make a set of concentration cards containing two stacks of cards. The first stack will have terms on backs of them and the second will have their matching definition. Place the cards face down and scramble them to play a game of Vocabulary Concentration! Oh, make sure to make an answer sheet for a designated, answer checker to use for fair play and accurate matching.

  • An alternative to vocabulary concentration is synonym/antonym concentration to match the terms found in an “Underpants” book to words that are alike or different to scramble. Check answer the same as you would as in Vocabulary Concentration.

Use a single strategy or combinations of those listed above to help manage the uproar caused by these books to allow your students actual learning from Pilkey’s kid-approved literary gems. Take care to modify as needed and use them with other titles that your class may be reading as tool for learning under the guise of unbridled merriment.

Have fun as you are vocabulary building!

This post is part of the series: The Adventures of Captain Underpants Activities in Various Subject Areas

Have kids Tra-la-la-laaaaa-ing all over the place with Captain Underpants. The laughs won’t end with these activities designed to go with the hugely popular kids’ series by Dave Pilkey.

  1. Vocabulary Exercises with Captain Underpants
  2. Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants: Lessons Across the Curriculum