Letter V volunteered to stop by and remind everyone about the importance of introducing children to new vocabulary words. The best ways to achieve that goal are to engage in meaningful conversations each day about a variety of different topics, even the most routine ones, and to read lots of books together. The more words children are exposed to in the early years from birth to age 5, the better equipped they will be to read proficiently.
Building a rich vocabulary helps to build a victorious reader!
V is for victory!
Consider these facts:
- Learning the meaning of new words is an essential component of early reading development.
- Overall school achievement is directly linked to a child’s vocabulary growth.
- The size of a child’s vocabulary in kindergarten predicts his/her ability to learn to read.
What you can do:
- Live your life out loud (“think aloud”) and explain what you’re doing throughout the day. Name objects, describe experiences, and point out your surroundings.
- When engaging in conversations with your child, consider replacing common words with more sophisticated words. For example, instead of using the word “buy,” you could use the word “purchase.” Instead of saying “tired,” you could introduce the word “weary.”
- Use actions, gestures, and facial expressions to help convey meaning to words. For example, yawning and putting your head into your hands illustrates the word “weary.”
- Change your inflection and tone of voice when introducing words to match an emotion a new word may evoke.
- Explain your thought process as you make decisions throughout the day. For example, explain that you let a person go in front of you at the store because she only had one item and you had a whole cart full.
- Relate new words to your child’s personal experiences.
- Share your own experiences with your child. For example, discuss new people you encountered during the day or something amusing that happened.
- Use your child’s interests as the springboard for new words. For example, if your child is playing with cars, take that opportunity to introduce words such as traffic and mechanic.
- Talk to your child about your own interests and why you enjoy them.
- Encourage family discussions. A good place to start is at the dinner table.
- Read, read, and read some more.
- Get out that dictionary and choose some new words each week.
- A thesaurus is a great resource to consult for replacing common words with more sophisticated ones.
“Vocabulary is the best single indicator of intellectual ability and an accurate predictor of success at school.” — W.B. Elley
“The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein
Here’s to rich and sophisticated language!