How to build your child’s vocabulary – Taken from TheSchoolRun.com
Help your child become a master of words with these great tips for boosting vocabulary at home.
Recently, a survey of teachers from 800 secondary schools revealed that many children are leaving primary school with a vocabulary that’s inadequate for their age.
, according to the study.
And it’s not just in the classroom that vocabulary matters.
‘Words empower children to make sense of the world around them,’ Jack explains. ‘A wide vocabulary helps them to put their emotions into words, socialise with people, imagine and wonder.’
So how can we equip our children with a vocabulary that will help them succeed?
1. Make conversation a priority.
Young children are like sponges, so it’s important to immerse them in language right from the start.
‘, so it’s vital to talk to your child and expose them to different words.
‘Try naming objects, using number words, and introducing words that explain emotions: the more words they understand, the more they will be able to use.
2. Read Together
‘The key to a wide vocabulary is a love of reading,’ Alice says. ‘It’s important to make reading a routine, with a regular slot everyday.
: kids love to hear stories, and you can build their vocabulary by choosing books that would be too difficult for them to read themselves.
3. Use Labels
‘Use Post-It notes to label objects around the house, as this will help your child learn to read new words,’ Jack suggests.
4. Play Word Games
‘Making language-learning a part of games is really useful, as it makes it interactive and fun,’ Alice says.ences
5.Use Words in Sentences
There’s no point in your child learning new words if they don’t know how to use them.
6. Write for Pleasure
Children are sometimes turned off writing by being made to write about things that don’t interest them at school.
Try to counter this by encouraging your child to write for pleasure on any subject that enthuses them. ‘Don’t correct their writing – just let them write for the sake of it,’ Alice says. ‘It’s been proven that children who enjoy writing are seven times more likely to write at the expected level for their age.
7. Create a Word Wall
This is a great way to help new words sink into your child’s brain. ‘Write each new word they learn on a strip of paper, and stick them on the wall in their bedroom,’ suggests Jack.
8. Introduce a Word of the Day
Introducing a new word each day will boost your child’s vocabulary by 365 (or 366!) words every year, and is an activity that the whole family can get involved with.
Make sure your child knows the meaning of the word, as they’ll then be able to use it in their own speaking and writing.
9. Play Together
‘It also helps them communicate with other children.
10. Don’t ‘Dumb Down’
Children always have a bigger receptive vocabulary than expressive vocabulary: that is, they understand more words than they’re able to use. This means that .
‘Don’t water down your language, as we’re hoping children will pick up on the words we’re using,’ says Jack. ‘Children need to be exposed to a word about 12 times to fully take it in.
11. Show Them How to Use a Thesaurus
You could read through their writing with them, and get them to highlight words that they’ve overused so they can look up alternatives.
12. Introduce Word Banks
You’ll find lots of word banks online, or you and your child could make your own using a notebook with a page per word group, adding new words as you find them.
Your child can have word banks on hand when they’re writing to help them find new and more interesting words.
13. Make a Big Deal of Language
‘Positive reinforcement is known to help children learn, so create an environment where vocabulary is praised and celebrated,’ Jack says.
‘Make a fuss of new words your child uses in speaking and writing: the more enjoyable the experience of learning vocabulary, the more children will be geared to pick it up.’
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