Learning the meaning of words begins when a child is born and continues throughout the child’s life. The number of words that the child already knows before beginning school varies greatly between students.
Much of a book introduction is spent checking that the student understands the vocabulary of the book.
Some ways you can help to build up your child’s vocabulary are:
- Talk about an unfamiliar word. Give examples of how it could be used, e.g. gigantic means very, very big. A giant is very big and gigantic can mean big like a giant. The tent we saw at the circus was gigantic wasn’t it? Can you think of anything else that could be gigantic?
- Talk about the different meanings that a word can have, e.g. saw (with eyes, a tool), sore.
- Pick out a word. Explain the word if it is unfamiliar. Or pick out a well known word, e.g. big and give an unfamiliar alternative, e.g. enormous.
- Add more descriptions or information than is in the book, e.g. describe the pictures in an interesting way, e.g. that sun looks dazzling, Emma’s dress is stunning, those animals are grouped together to stay safe.
- Have your child repeat the unfamiliar word a number of times to help her / him to remember it by sight and sound.
- Encourage your child to talk about the pictures and add ideas.
- Talk about the feelings of the characters.
- Talk about what is going on around you. Talk about how things work, feelings and ideas.
- When your child talks about something, add more detail to what is said.
- Choose books from the library that are about things that you don’t often see during your daily activities.
- Learn together by looking at information programs on TV , the Internet, and in non-fiction books.
These are just a few suggestions. You can probably think of many other ways of helping to improve the number of words that your child understands and uses.