There’s a reason why many of our favorite childhood novels and television depicts the importance of vocabulary. Kids who are exposed to more words at a young age not only have better reading comprehension but also score higher on standardised vocabulary tests than adults. If your preschooler struggles with word recognition or fluency, here are 5 tips you can use to improve their vocabulary at home:
1. Talk to your child every day
It is crucial for kids to be exposed to spoken words every day in order to develop their ability to recognise words. If your preschooler is struggling with language disorders or learning challenges, it’s important to communicate with them using slower speech and straightforward language. Some kids may have trouble grasping complex sentences, so it may be beneficial to keep your phrasing simple and concise. Building a strong vocabulary is key for children, as it enables them to think critically, connect ideas and words, and tackle problems with confidence.
2. Play word games together
Bonding with your little one over word games can be a fantastic way to expand their vocabulary in the comfort of your home. By participating in interactive and entertaining games such as Scrabble, Boggle, and crosswords, your child has the opportunity to actively learn and remember new words in a context that is meaningful to them. Not only will this deepen their understanding of the words, but it will also sharpen their spelling, grammar, and communication skills. So why not make the most of quality time with your child and give their vocabulary a boost while having fun?
3. Read English books
Reading not only hones vocabulary skills but also cultivates comprehension abilities. During family reading sessions, challenge yourselves to incorporate more sophisticated words into your speech. When young reader delves into a book, they are presented with new terms and expressions that might not be part of their daily routine. This not only broadens their vocabulary but also enhances their mastery of the language. Encouraging children to read books that are challenging and at a higher level than their current reading level will help improve their vocabulary as they have to look up unknown words. This is not only educational but also a delightful way for kids to discover new words and develop a lifelong passion for reading. Take “bedtime stories” as a prime opportunity to expand your child’s vocabulary.
4. Teach your child new vocabulary
If a young one is having difficulty with particular words, a creative solution would be to develop and teach new vocabulary to fill in the gap. This can be achieved by giving new and imaginative meanings to existing words. These new meanings can serve as a foundation for creating even more words in the future. Another approach could be to find synonyms(words with the same meaning) or antonyms(words with different and opposite meanings) and then use infixes and prefixes(additions to the beginning or end of a word) to create fresh and innovative meanings for words. For example, prodigious as a word can be difficult for kids to learn, instead, they can learn its simple synonyms like great or huge.
5. Don’t skip words
While reading, don’t skip over words. Instead, pause, read the word carefully, and then write it down. You can break down the words into simple parts, and then explain to your child the meaning of each part to make them figure out the meaning of the word as a whole. Like the word ‘metamorphosis’ (the process of changing shape) can be broken into meta(change), morph(shape), osis(process). The best way to improve your child’s vocabulary is to talk to them, read with them, and play word games. Keep in mind that preschool kids who struggle with word recognition or fluency often have a harder time expanding their vocabulary later, so practice using simpler words and longer sentences. The more you talk and read to your child, the better their vocabulary will be! Now that you know the best way to grow your child’s vocabulary, there’s no reason to wait.