Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Top 5 Ways to Build Your Child's Vocabulary

Vocabulary is the building block to communication and success in all avenues of life!

Here are the top 5 ways to build your child's vocabulary and see them succeed in their endeavors:

1. Read to your child regularly.

Reading to your child is a great way to add vocabulary to their knowledge base, especially those words that you may not find yourself using on a daily basis. Characters may experience a range of emotions or adventures, so reading regularly will introduce your child to a variety of descriptive language.

2. Use adult talk around your children and allow them to listen.

When your child hears words in context, it helps them define the word themselves. We see this concept in the Standards of Learning tests. In the SOL, each student is required to read key words in a passage and determine their meaning by using context clues provided in the rest of the sentence. Therefore, it is crucial for your child to hear conversations between adults in order for them to develop critical thinking and listening skills. These skills will build vocabulary that is instrumental for all forms of their communication. 

3.  Expand your child's vocabulary base by avoiding "child speak".

Every time you use "child speak", you are neglecting the opportunity to expand your learner's vocabulary. By maintaining your typical patterns of speech when conversing with your child, they will then begin to recognize advanced words and patterns within your speech. Your child's use of your vocabulary may first be a result of mimicking you, but it will soon transform into a working knowledge of new words and subjects.

4. Elaborate by using more nouns, verbs, and adjectives in your speech.

In our busy lives, we sometimes choose the simplest ways to respond to those around us. When we do this, we lose a valuable teaching moment. For example, instead of simply saying, "I think it's going to rain," you can say, "Look at that ominous dark cloud." Also, in addition to adding more to your responses, try using more specific speech. For example, great news isn't just exciting - you're elated by the news! By using new words in everyday situations, your child will begin to associate their meanings with common concepts.

5. Use words in new ways.

Show your child that a word can have different meanings by using words in a less than usual way. For example, tendril is a word we associate with hanging vines. However, what if your child's long hair doesn't just have curls? Instead, the tendrils sweep down her back.

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