The Whimsical Word Collector

The beloved Peter H. Reynolds has written yet another delightful and empowering book. Reynolds makes it so easy to promote a love of vocabulary when he gives us a character whose favorite hobby is collecting words! It doesn’t get much better than this! 


“Reach for your own words. Tell the world who you are, and how you will make it better.”

– Peter H. Reynolds

When Jerome’s word collection gets too big, he begins to sort his words into different scrapbooks – action words, whispery words, serious words, poetic words, animal words, mysterious words and so much more. One day he accidentally slips and falls, causing his words to get all mixed up. Instead of getting upset he starts to look at the words differently. He realizes that you don’t need words to be perfectly matched with those similar to make a masterpiece! Jerome starts using his words to write poems and songs. He shares his words with all the children in the valley. In the end, Jerome makes the world a better place by sharing his love for words.

Extension Activities 

A great way to kick off your word wall learning (and quickly get some words up!) is to have your students spend a week or two “collecting” words. They could do so at school, at home, on the soccer field, etc. As soon as everyone has brought in a word or two, spend a few morning meetings allowing students to present their word to their classmates. Before presenting, they should learn how to pronounce the word correctly, the definition and how to use it in a sentence.

Here are some printable Word Collection Cards to run-off on cardstock and hand out to students. Run these off in a different color than your normal word wall words. Then, you can remember which were part of your beginning of the year word collection celebration! Having children feel personally attached to the words on the wall makes for vocabulary engagement all year (I promise!).

Of course, you should take part in the word collection too! My favorite word to describe Jerome is whimsical. He is such a playful and lovely character. He has a wonderful imagination and loves helping those around him. This character trait word is a great one to have up on your word wall all year round. It can be used to describe many characters across a variety of genres.

Related Videos

More books with word collecting main characters:

Jerome isn’t the only kid collecting words out there! 

  • Max’s Words by Kate Banks
    • Max’s brothers are collectors – one collects stamps, the other coins. Neither brother will share their collection with Max. So, he decides to start his own collection of words!
    • Max’s Words full book read aloud video by Stories That Build Character and More
  • Donavan’s Word Jar by Monalise DeGross (Chapter Book)DWordJar Cover.jpg
    • When Donavan comes across a new word that peaks his interest, he writes it on a slip of paper and puts it in his word jar. Eventually he finds so many lovely words, that his word jar fills up! He has to seek advice from grandma who knows exactly how to help!
    • If you use your word wall for other specific words, think about starting a class word jar!
    • Donavan’s Word Jar full book read aloud video by Story Time Story Town
  • The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter and Giselle Potter Boy Who Loved Cover.jpeg
    • Selig collects words that stir his heart and words that make him laugh. He has the chance to help a poet find the perfect words for his poem. Through this experience Selig discovers that he loves to spread his love for words with others!
    • The Boy Who Love Words full book read aloud video by Diane Santiago

*Note: Where are all the GIRL word collectors? Am I right?*

Related Blog Posts that may peak your interest:

Header Photo Attribute: Illustration by Peter H. Reynolds, found in The Word Collector. Orchard Books, New York, NY, 2018.

Published by Liz Siracusa (Vocabulicious)

* Elementary Educator * Instructional Literacy Coach * Vocabulary Lover * The history behind Vocabulicious is simple - I love to help students growth their vocabulary, and I want to help YOU make your classroom a word conscious environment. I’m excited to share all of the vocabulary activities I have had success with throughout the years, plus great mentor texts to use for interactive read alouds. I live in Burlington, Vermont and enjoy hiking, biking and running!

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