4 Strategies To Help Your Children Develop A Better Vocabulary
Posted By: Emma Sturgis on August 17, 2017 |
Children who love to learn naturally do well in their academic studies. Their developing minds seek out and retain new information as a matter of course. A growing vocabulary is part of this ability to absorb new learning, because it provides the basis for understanding and expressing new ideas and concepts. If you want to help your children develop a good vocabulary, you can implement strategies that make learning new words part of their everyday activities.
1 – Inspire Curiosity About Language
An interest in language and how it is used is a trait that can be passed on to children through interactions with parents and other people that are important to them. You can share your own curiosity about words with your children, and they will also become interested in language. If parents incorporate curiosity about words as they go about their day, driving to school, running errands, attending events, they will show children the practical importance of language, and they will transfer this beneficial habit to their offspring. For example, while driving, you may hear an unfamiliar word on the radio. Make note of the word to your child and find other examples of the word and its use. At the mall, find words on store signs that are unfamiliar and see if you and your child can figure out what it might mean. Road signs, advertisements and directories are all opportunities to find new words and learn how they are used in real life. If your child is in school, inquire about the language program. Some school supplement their curriculum with a homeschool curriculum, which can help reinforce what is being taught at school as well.
2 – Read Voraciously and Encourage Reading
Children who read are exposed to a variety of new words every time they pick up a book. If you are an avid reader, you will be able to share what you are reading, including new words you come across.
Actively find passages in your reading that would interest your child and read them aloud. When the passage includes an unfamiliar word, discuss its meaning, and ask the child to describe it in their own words. This activity helps to fix the new word in children’s mind, so that when they hear or read it again, it will be familiar to them.
3 – Institute A “Word of the Day”
The “word of the day” calendar has been a common item for those who are interested in expanding their vocabularies for many years. You can create your own “word of the day” calendar to suit your child’s age bracket. You can then use the word yourself in normal conversation and encourage your child to do the same. Not all of the words will be remembered, but it will create a habit of noticing new words and will encourage children to find new words on their own.
4 – Emphasize Word Meanings With Action
Whenever possible, act out the meaning of a word to provide a visual reference point that will make the new word easier to remember. For example, the word “drowsy” can be accompanied by half-closed eyes and a relaxed body attitude. The word “horrified” can be accompanied by facial expressions and an attitude of alarm. These dramatizations of word meanings allow children to create a mental image that can be recalled from memory when they encounter the word in other circumstances.
A good vocabulary is one of the key components of success in academics. If you encourage learning new words and how they are used in everyday speech, you will be helping your child develop a love of language that will facilitate learning in all fields of study. In addition, a good vocabulary allows children to express themselves in creative, acceptable ways. The whole family can get involved in learning new words, as a fun and beneficial mental exercise.
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