At A Grade Ahead, it’s no secret that we love language (I mean… We design a special curriculum to study English concepts from Pre-K all the way through high school!) It’s also no secret that having a strong vocabulary will help your child’s success in school and beyond. There are many ways to help your child build his or her vocabulary skills. It’s likely that you are already doing some of these and not even realizing how important they are. To help you support your child’s growth, we’ve compiled our favorite suggestions on how to help your child build a strong vocabulary. Enjoy many of these activities along with your child and make learning fun.
Read, Read, Read
Reading is one of the best ways to increase vocabulary skills. The American Pediatric Association suggests that reading to children as early as infancy can help boost their vocabulary from a young age. Read to your child every day if you can and make it an enjoyable experience. Reading to children provides many cognitive benefits and can be a great bonding opportunity as well.
As your child gets older and learns to read independently, continue to read together as they discover new words and enter advanced reading levels. Ask questions about the books you read and help your child understand what the books are about.
A study published in NBCI found that children with advanced reading skills in grades four and above have a higher rate of vocabulary growth than average readers. Read with them often and encourage them to read on their own to master their reading and vocabulary skills.
You might be wondering how to find good books for kids. Don’t worry parents, we won’t leave you hanging. If you’re struggling to find books to read, check out our tips or these past summer reading lists here and here!
Converse with your child, even if he or she hasn’t developed conversation skills yet. Talk to your child as you would with anyone else. There’s no need to use baby-talk or a different vocabulary. The more your child hears you speak and learns to converse, the better his or her vocabulary skills will be.
When it comes to children, conversation should be made a priority by talking about their day, asking them questions, and getting them to explain the world around them. Children must learn to express themselves. They may not know the word for how they are feeling or what they want to say, but you can help them discover the words they need to express their thoughts and feelings and be understood. The more they hear conversations around them, the stronger their vocabulary will be.
Kids love games, and they have no idea they are learning while they are having fun. There are many games you can play with your child that will help increase language skills. Games like “I Spy” help them learn to identify objects. Scavenger hunts, bingo, 20 questions, naming words that start with letters, and Pictionary are just a few games that you can play with your children. Lucky for you, we’ve already compiled a list of games to avoid boring vocabulary practice.
As they get older, you can encourage your child to play word games, like word searches and crossword puzzles. Not only will your child be increasing vocabulary skills, but you will have fun spending time together as well!
Add Music to their Life
Listening to music, singing songs, and taking music lessons are all great ways to improve language and vocabulary skills. Encourage your child to sing and make up songs; he or she will get to have fun with words and develop vocabulary skills! Studies suggest that the brain processes music similarly to how it processes language. Listening to music helps develop these skills just as reading and talking do.
Researchers from MIT conducted a study on the benefits of music lessons in relation to language and reading skills. They found that children who took music lessons were much better at determining pitch and distinguishing between words. This is important for helping children as they develop their language, comprehension, and vocabulary skills.
Storytelling is an excellent way to practice vocabulary. If your child is new to storytelling, start by sharing a story of your own. Once he or she starts to get the idea, have your child make up the ending of the story or add characters or plot events to the story. Coming up with this story together will be fun for both of you. You can also tell stories through pictures and storyboards to make things even more exciting for your young learner.
Write for Fun
When your child is old enough to write, encourage them to write often and enjoy it. Have them write down stories, keep a journal of their own experiences, create their own books, and more. Not only will this help your child develop vocabulary skills, but it will also help them build creativity and express themselves in a way other than speaking.
Your child might love writing, and that’s awesome! Be sure to check out these magazines that publish writing by kids.
Of course, all children progress at different speeds. Your child might do well with some of these activities, but they may not like all of them. Enjoy the quality time together while you help your child build a strong vocabulary. What do you think of these tips? Have you had any success with these methods? Comment below and start a conversation with us!
Author: Brenna Waugaman, Curriculum Writer at A Grade Ahead
Updated Author: Amanda Hutson, Content Assistant at A Grade Ahead
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