Building Your Child’s Vocabulary

Building Your Child's Vocabulary - Red Apple ReadingA robust vocabulary is a vital part of literacy. While a child may be able to read a word, it doesn’t necessarily mean she understands the meaning of the word. Reading is an important life skill and kids will only reap the full benefits if they understand the text. A large vocabulary improves a child’s reading comprehension. So what can you do to help build a child’s vocabulary? Red Apple Reading has a few suggestions!

  • Read – The single most important thing to grow a child’s vocabulary is read to them. Kids will never use a word if they never hear that word. Simply put, reading to your kiddos will expose them to new words.
  • Model – Children pick up on the behaviors and habits (good and bad) of those around them, and vocabulary usage is no exception. When we have an expansive vocabulary our kids will follow suit.
  • Teach Context – When a child is reading a book and comes across a word he doesn’t know, teach him how to use the sentences around the word to clue into its meaning. When kids learn how to use context clues to determine the gist of a word, their vocabulary and reading comprehension will improve.
  • Make a Word Wall – Using a bulletin board, refrigerator, or door in your home, create a wall of words your child has learned or is currently learning and review them frequently. If you need a template to make attractive word cards, check out this Scholastic resource.
  • Use Flash Cards – Flash cards can be particularly helpful when testing kids for upcoming vocabulary tests. The above link for templates can be used for flashcards as well!
  • Sing – I have to admit that my singing voice is less than pleasant! However, my children never seemed to mind when I was off pitch. Singing with our little ones is fun and it also helps to expand their vocabulary. For example, when you sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to your kiddo, you are exposing him to interesting words like twinkle that you may not otherwise use.

There’s a good chance you are already doing many of the things that naturally build vocabulary in children. By implementing a few, new strategies you can give a child’s vocabulary an extra boost! Remember, a healthy vocabulary is a crucial component of literacy; the extra effort really is worthwhile! For more ideas on helping your kiddos improve vocabulary, try these fun vocabulary activities from the National Capital Resource Center.

Help Your Child’s Developing Vocabulary

Developing Your Child's Vocabulary - Red Apple ReadingVocabulary is one of the 5 pillars of reading instruction — along with phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency and comprehension — that every child needs in order to become a proficient reader. Today we look at the crucial role vocabulary development plays in reading.

A rich vocabulary will serve your child well as she navigates through life. We often don’t realize the importance of a robust vocabulary. Although vocabulary acquisition may not be in the forefront of our minds, we notice the effects in our children when it is lagging or absent. If our children don’t understand the words that they hear, speak, read and write, they will become ineffective communicators and struggle with many daily tasks.

If you want to help your kids develop a rich vocabulary, check out these helpful tips from our team at Red Apple Reading!

Read to them!
The best ideas are often the simplest. The most important thing you can do to help your child’s vocabulary development is to read! When we read to our children, we are exposing them to words they may not otherwise hear. When I read to my 6-year-old, he is taking in new words and ideas and very often asking me questions about what he’s hearing! So when it’s time to pick up a book for the nightly bedtime story, remember that you are not only creating lasting memories, you are also developing vocabulary!

Display words on a word wall.
Include sight words for extra practice, and add new and more complex vocabulary as your child learns new words. Check out these word lists from Flocabulary for grades K-8.

Go on a word hunt.
Pick a favorite book and go through it page by page, having your child find specific words within the text. You can also do this in the car using billboards and business signs!

Point out familiar words in everyday life.
Very often opportunities for developing vocabulary happen organically and in the moment. Look through restaurant menus, draw attention to street signs, and show your child familiar words in your own reading materials.

Practice with flash cards.
Flip through words with your child, changing the order each time, or use the cards in games, having your child match words or pick words out from a pile.

Play!
Learning should be fun! When we share stories, tell jokes and play word games with our kiddos, this naturally aids vocabulary acquisition.  Check out these ideas from Hands On As We Grow for increasing your toddler’s vocabulary through play.

By implementing these simple strategies, parents will go a long way in helping their children develop a rich vocabulary that will serve them well in their daily life.

Need more ideas for enriching your child’s vocabulary? Check out the wealth of activities from the National Capital Language Resource Center.

Have any other ideas to share about building vocabulary? Please leave comments!

3 Effective Vocabulary Builders

Red Apple Reading - reading help for childrenIt is interesting to watch our little one’s vocabulary change and evolve as they grow up. Their one word interactions gradually become simple sentences, and the next thing we know we are having conversations with them. In her article For the Love of Words, Susan Canizares writes, “Children who acquire a substantial vocabulary are often able to think more deeply, express themselves better, and learn new things more quickly. They are also very likely to be successful not only learning to read, but also in reading at or above grade level throughout their school years.” Since a good vocabulary is so critical, Red Apple Reading would like to offer some ways you can help build your child’s vocabulary.

Be Playful
One easy way to build your kiddo’s vocabulary is through everyday play. When we playfully engage with our children, we are not just spending quality time with them (which is very important), we are helping to build their vocabularies as well. For instance, a simple game of twenty questions is a great opportunity to use interesting words. Have your youngster think of an object; then instead of asking if the object is “big“, ask if it is “huge” or “gigantic”. A fun game of “I Spy” during a car ride is also a good chance to enhance vocabulary. School age children will enjoy doing “Mad Libs” – where you fill in story blanks with adjectives, nouns, adverbs, etc. As you can see, almost any playful interaction you have with your child can actually do “double duty” as word practice. Just make sure that while you are having fun to also be intentional with your use of language!

Be Curious
Parents can also help build their child’s vocabulary by simply being curious. When we ask our kids questions, it gives them the chance to express themselves verbally. However, we often fall into the habit of asking basic “yes” or “no” questions. For example, we may ask, “Did you have a good day at school today?”; instead of , “Describe your day to me.”. The second question encourages the child to express herself in a more meaningful way than the first question does. We can also ask our little ones for alternative words. When your son observes that the clouds in the sky are “fluffy”, see how many words the two of you can come up with that are similar to “fluffy”- such as “feathery” or “soft”.

Be a Reader
Here’s reason #127 to read to your kiddo: it will enlarge their vocabulary! If a child never hears a word, he will never say that word. Reading aloud to our kids and encouraging them to read as they grow older will expose them to hundreds of new and interesting words. So resist the temptation to skip that bedtime story tonight – the payback your child will receive is priceless!

By employing a few simple strategies, you can help your kid increase her vocabulary and thus, positively impact her whole education. Words truly empower!

 

Vocabulary Development – Reading Essentials #19

Vocabulary Development - Red Apple Reading Express

A robust vocabulary is one of the most beneficial things your child can have. After all, in order to communicate effectively, we need to understand the words we hear, speak, read, and write. How can you help your child develop a rich vocabulary? Read to him! The single largest impact on a child’s vocabulary is the amount of reading he or she does.

In addition to reading to your child, you can support his or her vocabulary acquisition by engaging in targeted vocabulary activities. Here are some ideas:

  • Display words on a word wall:  Include sight words for extra practice, and add new and more complex vocabulary as your child learns new words.
  • Go on a word hunt:  Pick a favorite book, and go through it page by page, having your child find specific words within the text.
  • Point out familiar words in everyday life:  Look through restaurant menus, draw attention to street signs, and show your child familiar words in your own reading materials.
  • Practice with flash cards: Flip through words with your child, changing the order each time, or use the cards in games, having your child match words or pick words out from a pile.
  • Play word games, tell jokes, and share stories together.

Research indicates that hearing new and complex vocabulary in conversation can also be beneficial to children’s vocabulary acquisition.  By communicating with your child, utilizing new words, and explaining their meanings, you can offer your child valuable opportunities for building his vocabulary.

Need more ideas for enriching your child’s vocabulary? Check out the wealth of activities from the National Capital Language Resource Center.