Vocabulary Practice

  • (from ReadWriteThink.org):

    Introducing new words to a child doesn’t have to be time consuming; just a quick conversation about a word during a reading or another opportunity can open up a whole new level of understanding for that child.  Be careful in choosing what words to talk about, and make sure that reading doesn’t become a “chore” by turning pleasure reading into a vocabulary lesson.  The best words to explore with a child are words that come up on their own due to the curiosity of the child, and are usually words that are common among adults, but less common in the reading that the child does.

    When talking about a new word with the child, be sure to keep the following hints in mind:

    1. Provide a kid-friendly, easy-to-understand definition of the word that you’ve come across or that the child has asked about:
      • Ex: Scrumptious means something that is really, really tasty.
    2. Give the child a kid-friendly example of the word in his/her everyday life:
      • Ex: Remember those scrumptious cookies that Grandma made?  They were so chocolatey and delicious!
    3. Encourage the child to come up with an example of his/her own:
      • Ex: What can you think of that is scrumptious?  Did you eat anything really delicious today?  You're right...that pizza was scrumptious!  I can't wait to eat it again!
    4. Keep using the new word(s) as much as possible at home and while you’re out and about.  Or, make it a challenge and see how many times the child and/or family members can properly use the word in context throughout the day!
    5. Going forward, take advantage of any opportunities to use the new word in conversation to keep introducing the child to the word’s uses. Talk about things you see around town, throughout the neighborhood, or that you see on TV, books, texts, stories, etc.  These real-life examples will help build the child’s understanding of the new word(s).
    6. Use interesting new words with your child that he or she may not have heard or read before:
      • “I know you’d love a snow day tomorrow, but the probability is low.  Maybe next week!” or “Great job on that math test!  You are so intelligent!"
  • Try crossword puzzles for kids.  There are various apps available, too!  This is a fun way to improve vocabulary and spelling!