Growing Vocabulary

Reading is a lifelong skill that will enable children to read for fun, as part of a job, or to gain knowledge. One way to giving your child a great start for reading and writing is to promote the growth of their vocabulary through opportunities at home.

Over time many studies have shown that students who enter school with a strong vocabulary background will have more success with academics.

Here are a few ideas on ways to increase vocabulary at home with your school-age child(ren):

  • Involve your child in language rich, high-level conversations. Remember to relate new words to words they may already know to help them create an understanding of the word’s meaning.
  • Ask your children to tell you stories and ask questions to encourage their use of new words. For example, if they say, “it was very cold,” you can ask, “was it in the Arctic?” This allows children to hear new words and begin to integrate them into their own speaking vocabulary.
  • Talk out loud to your young children about everyday routines using specific language. “Now I am going to put on my shoes. First my left shoe, now my right shoe.” Or “Now that we put the dough on the cookie sheet, let’s put the cookies in the oven.” 
  • Play games that encourage the use of words and new vocabulary. Board games, such as Scrabble and Bananagrams are great for older children. Utilize the power of your phones and tablets by downloading educational apps that allow children to play with words.
  • Reading books that introduce new words will also help build vocabulary. Choose books that are of high interest and contain some (not too many) new vocabulary words. Remember to read non-fiction books as well as story books, and point out the new words as you read and discuss.