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James and the Giant Peach Vocabulary Building Activities

By Daniel Caverly

James and the Giant Peach is a favorite for kids and adults alike. This series of lesson plans are suitable for upper fourth grade students and lower level fifth grade students, although it could be modified for older or younger students.

James and the Giant Peach Build your students vocabulary with James and the Giant Peach. This lesson plan helps students learn vocabulary words from the novel. An extension activity includes building your own board game!


The learner will develop a deeper understanding of key vocabulary terms found in the novel thereby enhancing comprehension.


Suggested vocabulary words from study guide, a copy of James and the Giant Peach, a dictionary, white paper (copy paper, drawing or construction paper), pencil, crayons or colored pencils.


This activity can be done with as many or as few vocabulary words as the learner's needs dictate.

1. If using copy paper, fold each sheet into quarters, leaving four equal sections. If using larger drawing or construction paper, fold four times to achieve desired sections.

2. At the very top of each section, write one vocabulary word.

3. Under the word, write it's dictionary definition. If multiple definitions are listed, finding the word in the novel for context would be helpful.

4. Next, write an original “meaningful” sentence that uses the vocabulary word. This should be a sentence that shows the word's meaning. For instance, if the word were “tumultuous”, simply writing The sea was tumultuous would not be meaningful. However, if one were to write During the storm, the tumultuous sea tossed about the ship like a child's toy, the meaning of the vocabulary word is developed by the context clues.

5. Finally, the learner will draw an illustration that shows the word in action. This can vary widely, as long as the learner is demonstrating his/her understanding of the word's meaning. Illustrations are brought to life when colored!

Extension Suggestion:

Create a vocabulary board game. Words from the novel can be written in sections along a “track”. Playing pieces might be created to resemble characters from the book. Cards may be created that contain clues to word meanings, synonyms or antonyms. Players move along the board by placing game pieces on the words that correspond to the cards that are drawn.