Words are important to the imagination and words express feelings, thoughts, ideas, and information.  With this in mind, it is necessary to promote the growth of children’s vocabulary in order to improve language and reading skills required to excel in school. Adults in a kid’s life have a big part to play in making a child understand new vocabulary. Through day-to-day interactions and experiences, parents can use new words to help broaden their child’s language.  In addition, the variety and amount of words an infant, toddler, and preschooler are exposed to by his or her parents or caregivers is closely linked to the extent of the child’s vocabulary.





All parents want their children to perform better in school and learn. One way to facilitate your child’s ability to comprehend what they are reading is to help them develop their vocabulary. The more vocabulary a child uses, the more they will be able to grasp what they’re listening to  in and out of school.  Asking kids questions and talking about words and their meanings during daily routines and interactions is a simple way to increase and enhance your child’s language skills.





Reading and engaging with children plays a significant part in improving their vocabulary. The more you read to your child, the more vocabulary they can develop. Evidence has found that children acquire new vocabulary from hearing spoken words and repeated phrases from significant people in their life (i.e., mom, dad, brothers, caregivers, and grandparents) and experiencing and sharing vocabulary during regular daily routines such as meal time, play time, story time or bath time.





Speaking to your child helps increase their vocabulary and builds a knowledge base about the world around them which in turn provides a strong foundation that will enable your child to learn how to read.  Below are some tips that you can reinforce at home to get your child excited about expanding his or her vocabulary.





  1. Read together





It’s necessary to have a daily reading routine.  Don’t only read school books but consider reading books that are of interest to your child because it will give them the opportunity to read for fun.





Continue to read aloud with your child even if they are beginning to read independently.    Choose books that develop their repertoire and books that will be challenging for them to read themselves.  You can pick non-fiction literature, fairy tales, folk tales, children’s magazines and comics that will open your child to a broader variety of vocabulary. Talk about what you’re reading as this will help your child to develop their comprehension skills.





  1. Teach them how to use a thesaurus





Understanding how to use a thesaurus can expand your child’s vocabulary and boost the content of their written work.  Teach them how to use it and allow them to keep it on hand while studying.





  1. Use new words while engaging in regular daily routines with your child





Help your child learn new vocabulary words and use them in the right context.   Children that are learning to read use knowledge about the world around them to help them make sense of what they’re reading. The more words a child knows, the more they are able to comprehend what they’re reading or listening to. Talking, playing, and reading with your child are perfect ways to expose them to new words on a daily basis.





  1. Treat new vocabulary as a big achievement and show positive reinforcement to your child





Providing positive reinforcement during daily exchanges is a great way to get your child excited about expanding their vocabulary skills and jumpstarting their ability to read.  Spark your child’s imagination by using descriptive and creative words during interactive games and activities.  Remember, the more enticing you make the process of using and learning language during your interactions with your child, the more likely they will acquire and expand on their language skills.



Jo Ann Gramlich is an award-winning author and speech-language pathologist specializing in helping children with communication disorders in Buffalo, New York. She holds a Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from SUNY Buffalo and has extensive experience in early intervention, preschool, and school settings. Visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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