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.