“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.”
– Paul J. Meyer
From the moment they utter their first word, parents experience the unmatched joy of watching the incredible growth in their child’s expression of themselves. Vocabulary is the most helpful tool for communication. This is why one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child is to help them build their vocabulary. The key is a commitment to regularly learning new words.
You can help your child cultivate a good vocabulary at a young age. Here’s how:
1. Children start developing a vocabulary during infancy. They imitate words that they hear from adults, and associate those words with objects or actions. Talk to them, but remember to remove empty fillers from your speech by reducing the use of word’s like “um” and “ah.”
2. No matter how difficult, parents should work on giving up baby talk, while asking friends and family to do the same. Baby-talk confuses children. Talk to them the way that you’d speak to anybody else.
3. When the child is young, and can’t read, parents should read aloud to them.
4. Try and play word games with them. For example, play a game called “word of the day”, in which you teach them a new word every day. If they remember the seven new words at the end of the week, take them to their favourite place or give them something they like. Games like Scrabble, Word Search, Word Jumble have been designed to help children improve their vocabulary.
5. When they are able to memorise seven words easily start upping the ante. Try teaching them 10 words next week.
6. The way you teach your child is also critical to your child’s ability to learn. Show them books with pictures and words to help them learn through association. Use words that might interest or fascinate them while talking to them–they’ll ask you for the meaning themselves!
7. Teach your child to look up words they don’t recognize. As your child grows up, it’ll become easier for you to help them build their vocabulary. Encourage them to ask questions, use a dictionary every time they don’t understand a word and pick up a thesaurus when they are working on writing assignments such as essays.
8. Reading is imperative to improving language skills. It’s typically easier for children to learn more words when they are growing up. Children who make reading a habit, tend to learn more words than those who do not. This is true for all languages.
9. Comic books are a great way to learn new words and develop an early interest in reading. Ask them to articulate and share their opinion about their current reads.
10. Get them a library membership or urge them to bring home new books from the school library. Encourage them to listen to podcasts like NPR.
11. Once the child starts reading and writing they learn more words, ask them to start a journal or write letters. It’s a great practice, and it will also help them be more organized.
12. Do the crossword with your children. Help them at first, and eventually you would find that they would be doing it themselves.
13. Keep a vocabulary notepad for extremely difficult words.
14. Remember that they should practice putting your new words into their writing and speaking. It’s very difficult to retain a word if we are not using it regularly.
Speak to your child about your day. Tell them about the things you did and the people you encountered. Don’t miss any funny details. This will help them understand storytelling outside the realms of a book. Ask them to do the same and tell you about their day using the new words they’ve learnt. A good vocabulary will help your children at all stages in life. We use language to express ourselves every day. It may be difficult to memorize large words daily, but there are many ways to make it fun. You’ll start enjoying watching your child grow one word at a time. 🙂