J is one of the least used letters in English, so when it does begin a word, it's worthy of note. It is often a reminder of the roots of English, standing in for the Latin initial I and even the Old English rune ger. This list of J words for kids is designed to engage students with these unique words.
Preschoolers and kindergarteners are just getting started with understanding letters and the alphabet. Therefore, when you think of vocabulary words that start with J for kindergarten and pre-K, start with simple words, sight words and words they are familiar with. Letter J activities can start with CVC words and simple object recognition, pointing out or drawing jackets, juice or jets.
- Jab: To poke or thrust
- Jacket: A short coat
- Jar: A glass container, usually round
- Jaw: The two hinged bones that hold the mouth and teeth
- Jet: A powerful stream of liquid or gas, or an airplane powered by such a stream
- Job: One specific work project, or what someone does for money
- Jog: To run at a medium pace
- Join: To connect together
- Joke: Something said or done to be funny
- Joy: Deep happiness
- Jump: To move up suddenly so your feet leave the ground
- Junk: Trash or useless items
When students are just starting to recognize words, it can help to start with words they are familiar with. Try out these J words and names when students are just starting to recognize the letter J and its sound.
These simple J words are a wonderful way to make the all-important link between spoken sound and a written symbol. We've created a trace-the-letter exercise with that in mind.
Keep your kids entertained with this fun worksheet where you match the word to the picture. They can even color it when they are done.
J words for kids matching activityClick to View & Download
Most of the entries in our 1st and 2nd grade J words list are concrete rather than abstract. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to get extra lessons with their vocabulary. There are many verbs and active words in this list of words with J. This can be an opportunity for students to get physical.
- Jabber: Speech that is fast and hard to understand
- Jealous: Wanting something someone else has, so much it makes you angry
- Jewel: A precious stone
- Jingle: The sound of a small bell, or a short piece of music, often used in advertising
- Jinx: To give someone bad luck, or something that causes bad luck
- Jitter: To shake or fidget
- Joint: A place where things are joined, especially on the human body
- Jolt: To shock, bump or move suddenly
- Jostle: To shove, push or run into
- Journal: A book of a person's thoughts and memories
- Journey: A long trip
- Judge: To decide or form an opinion, or a person whose job is to make legal decisions
- Juggle: To throw and catch multiple balls or other objects at the same time
- Jumble: A mess of scrambled-up parts
- Jungle: A tropical forest
- Jury: A group of people brought together to make a legal decision
- Just: Just can mean fair or right, or it can be a synonym of "only"
If your space allows, give students the chance to act out the meanings of "jitter" and "jolt." It's a wonderful way to spend some of that youthful energy and create a strong kinesthetic association with the words.
J word activities help students build a sense of context around the words they're learning. Use visual aids that help them, for instance, learn the major joints in the human body. Better still, download and print the jungle coloring sheet below! The PDF also encourages young learners to take a "jab" at adding to their jungle "journal."
Jungle journal worksheetClick to View & Download
J words for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade often have a story to tell. Engage your students with the context surrounding these words as well as the vocabulary itself. Activities should engage students with the context and larger significance of the words on this list.
- Jag: A sudden hard projection in an object
- Jaguar: A large spotted predatory cat from Central and South America
- Jasmine: A flowering garden plant used for perfume and tea
- Jazz: A style of music with complex arrangements and improvisations, usually featuring horns and drums
- Jeans: Pants made of denim
- Jell: To come together, to begin to make sense or become whole
- Jellyfish: A marine invertebrate with a floating bell and often stinging tentacles
- Jersey: A pullover sweater, and by extension the pullover shirt worn by athletes
- Jester: A professional comedian from the Middle Ages
- Jiffy: A moment, a short time
- Jig: An energetic folk dance from Britain and Ireland
- Jigsaw: A power saw with a vertical blade, or a puzzle made with that kind of saw
- Jive: To talk in an exaggerated or insincere way
- Jumbo: Unusually large
- Juniper: An evergreen shrub with pointed leaves that yields oil used in flavorings
- Jupiter: The chief god of ancient Rome, and the fifth and largest planet of the solar system
- Justice: Fairness and doing right, especially in terms of law
- Justify: To provide an explanation for something
- Jut: To stick out from an object
Playing jazz recordings or showing videos of jellyfish provides both vocabulary and context. Those experiences will help your learners connect with these words, and connect these words to the wider world.
Open up students' minds with the context of these words. Share and encourage them to draw pictures of jaguars in their native jungle, or discuss how "jersey" went from an island chain to a sweater to a sports uniform. It can also be fun to allow them to create stories with images from their J words.
J is a rare letter, but it's vital to the English language and learning. It represents a synergy between the two main influences on English — German and Latin — and appears in words that make English what it is. Learning J words from our list will help enrich students' understanding of the language as a whole. If you can't get enough J words, WordFinder's list of words that start with the letter J is a great next step to building your own vocabulary list. Just use the advanced search feature to find words that start with, include or end with the letter J. For more enriching vocabulary featuring a relatively underused letter, take a look at our words starting with K!