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.