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Building​ ​Your​ ​Child’s​ ​Vocabulary

All​ ​parents​ ​want​ ​their​ ​child​ ​to​ ​do​ ​well​ ​in​ ​school.​ ​One​ ​way​ ​to​ ​assist​ ​your​ ​child​ ​is​ ​to help​ ​them​ ​build​ ​their​ ​vocabulary.​ ​Beginning​ ​readers​ ​use​ ​knowledge​ ​about​ ​words​ ​to help​ ​them​ ​make​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​what​ ​they’re​ ​reading.​ ​The​ ​more​ ​words​ ​a​ ​reader​ ​knows,​ ​the more​ ​they​ ​are​ ​able​ ​to​ ​comprehend​ ​what​ ​they’re​ ​reading​ ​or​ ​listening​ ​to.

Talking​ ​to​ ​and​ ​reading​ ​with​ ​your​ ​child​ ​are​ ​two​ ​terrific​ ​ways​ ​to​ ​help​ ​them​ ​hear​ ​and read​ ​new​ ​words.​ ​Conversations​ ​and​ ​questions​ ​about​ ​interesting​ ​words​ ​(“The​ ​book says,​ ​‘The​ ​boy​ ​tumbled​ ​down​ ​the​ ​hill,’​ ​and​ ​look​ ​at​ ​the​ ​picture!​ ​How​ ​do​ ​you​ ​think​ ​he went​ ​down​ ​the​ ​hill?”)​ ​are​ ​easy,​ ​non-threatening​ ​ways​ ​to​ ​get​ ​new​ ​words​ ​into​ ​everyday talk.

Sharing​ ​a​ ​new​ ​word​ ​with​ ​your​ ​child​ ​doesn’t​ ​have​ ​to​ ​take​ ​a​ ​long​ ​time:​ ​just​ ​a​ ​few minutes​ ​to​ ​talk​ ​about​ ​the​ ​word​ ​and​ ​then​ ​focus​ ​back​ ​on​ ​the​ ​book​ ​or​ ​conversation.

Choose​ ​which​ ​words​ ​to​ ​talk​ ​about​ ​carefully​ ​–​ ​choosing​ ​every​ ​new​ ​word​ ​might​ ​make reading​ ​seem​ ​like​ ​a​ ​chore.​ ​​The​ ​best​ ​words​ ​to​ ​explore​ ​with​ ​your​ ​child​ ​are​ ​ones that​ ​are​ ​common​ ​among​ ​adult​ ​speakers​ ​but​ ​are​ ​less​ ​common​ ​to​ ​see​ ​in​ ​the books​ ​your​ ​child​ ​might​ ​read.

When​ ​introducing​ ​new​ ​words​ ​to​ ​your​ ​young​ ​learner,​ ​keep​ ​the​ ​following​ ​four​ ​helpful hints​ ​in​ ​mind.

1. First,​ ​provide​ ​a​ ​simple,​ ​kid-friendly​ ​definition​ ​for​ ​the​ ​new​ ​word:​ ​​Enormous means​ ​that​ ​something​ ​is​ ​really,​ ​really​ ​big.

2. Second,​ ​provide​ ​a​ ​simple,​ ​kid-friendly​ ​example​ ​that​ ​makes​ ​sense​ ​within​ ​their daily​ ​life:​ ​Remember​ ​that​ ​really​ ​big​ ​watermelon​ ​we​ ​got​ ​at​ ​the​ ​grocery​ ​store? That​ ​was​ ​an​ ​​enormous​​ ​watermelon!

3. Third,​ ​encourage​ ​your​ ​child​ ​to​ ​develop​ ​their​ ​own​ ​example:​ ​What​ ​​enormous thing​ ​can​ ​you​ ​think​ ​of?​ ​Can​ ​you​ ​think​ ​of​ ​something​ ​really​ ​big​ ​that​ ​you​ ​saw today?​ ​That’s​ ​right!​ ​The​ ​bulldozer​ ​near​ ​the​ ​park​ ​was​ ​​enormous​!​ ​Those​ ​tires were​ ​huge.

4. Last,​ ​keep​ ​your​ ​new​ ​words​ ​active​ ​within​ ​your​ ​house.​ ​Over​ ​the​ ​next​ ​few​ ​days and​ ​weeks,​ ​take​ ​advantage​ ​of​ ​opportunities​ ​to​ ​use​ ​each​ ​new​ ​vocabulary​ ​word in​ ​conversation.

Take​ ​the​ ​time​ ​to​ ​share​ ​new​ ​words​ ​and​ ​build​ ​your​ ​child’s​ ​vocabulary.​ ​You’ll​ ​be enormously​​ ​glad​ ​you​ ​did!

Written by Alison Speech Pathologist Newcastle Speech Pathology

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