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Fun Ways to Build Your Child’s Vocabulary

While children are exposed to an extensive vocabulary as they progress in their formal education, according to a report in Reading Psychology children’s vocabulary knowledge is largely determined by factors like parental interaction and what they hear on TV, especially before they reach third grade.

Other than being able to speak more articulately, why is it so important to have a large vocabulary? Studies have shown that children who have a larger vocabulary, tend to have more reading and academic achievement

If you’d like to help your child build a better vocabulary, try some of these suggestions and get your child on the fast track to school success.

Read together

There’s no better way to build vocabulary then by spending quality time reading aloud to your child. Even if they can’t yet read the words themselves, they can start to understand that the words have meaning.

If you’re looking for some books that promote an interest in vocabulary, try a book like Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis. It brings words to life with vivid pictures, and introduces young children to big words like “irate, stupendous, and cooperate.

Play a game
Using a game to teach vocabulary can make learning more fun for you and your child. You can purchase a board game like Word on the Street Junior that allows children to work in teams to identify vocabulary words, or you can create your own games like the Vocabulary Ball game from The Organized Classroom Blog. During this game children have to act out the vocabulary words that are written on a beach ball. It allows children to identify and use these words in a practical way.

Be creative with school vocabulary lists

It can be drudgery to help your child learn a list of school vocabulary words. But with a little creativity, you can help the studying go faster and be more fun for both of you.

  • Sit down with your child’s list and have them recite each word.
  • Describe the word to them and give them synonyms for each word.
  • When they get the general meaning, have them act out what they think the word means.
  • Break out the crayons and colored pencils and have them draw something that will help them remember the meaning of the word. You could even bind each page together and make a book for each vocabulary list so the child can revisit the words again and again.

Whether you’re helping your child build vocabulary to boost reading skills, or giving them a head start on the road to academic success, it’s important to make vocabulary a part of your parenting.

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About the Author

Jessa McClure

Jessa McClure

Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects. 

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