VocabularyOne of the most important things parents can do is foster the love of reading in their children. Vocabulary plays an important part in learning to read as it teaches the meaning of words. Beginning readers cannot understand what they are reading without first knowing what most of the words mean.
What parents can do at home:

  • It’s never too early to begin talking to your baby. Research shows that toddlers who have talkative parents learn hundreds of more words by the time they are two years old.
  • Beginning readers use the words they know to make sense of the words they read. Engage your child in conversation by asking questions that require more than a yes or no answer. The more children have to use their words, the more their vocabulary will improve naturally.
  • Read aloud to your young children. Reading to your children from a young age fosters a love of literature. Make it a habit to read to yourchild at a certain time of day, especially at bedtime.
  • Before you begin reading, point out particular words that your child might have trouble understanding and give their meanings. This will help your child better understand and comprehend the words.
  • When reading aloud to you child, pause when you get to an unfamiliar word and explain the meaning to your child.
  • Ask specific questions after reading, such as “What did you like best about this story?” “Which character is your favorite and why?” “What did you learn from this story?”
  • Ask your child to retell the story to you. Retelling a story exercises your child’s ability to put thoughts together in an organized, sequential way, therefore increasing your child’s vocabulary.
  • Encourage older children to read on their own. The more children read on their own, the more word meanings they will learn.
  • Bend down to listen to your child at eye level when your child is speaking. This not only enables you to actively listen, it also sends the message that you are giving your child your full attention.
  • Choose audio recordings over television. Listening to audio recordings exercises the brain much more than television in that it requires children to form images in their minds.
  • Play age-appropriate word games with your children. Board games, computer games and online educational software or tutoring programs are all a great way to increase your child’s vocabulary in a fun and engaging way.
  • Provide a rich learning environment for your children at home. Make books and art and writing supplies readily available to your children and give them a designated place for art, reading and writing activities, such as a desk in a well-lit corner.

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