Use lots of language with young children, even when they don’t understand. The more words children hear, the larger their vocabulary becomes.
Children with a large listening and speaking vocabulary have an enormous advantage in learning to read. Providing them with rich language experiences helps prepare them. Research shows that children who are read to from an early age have a larger vocabulary and better language skills when they start school, making it easier to learn to read. Children hear more new words when you read books – about three times more than in normal conversation. When you come to words your child isn’t familiar with, don’t substitute with an easier word.
Try these activities with your child to build vocabulary:
- Look at the picture of the Toucan on this page and talk about what you see.
- PTalk about the pictures in books and let your child identify things you see.
- Find real items of pictures seen in a book.
- Create and attach labels to items in your home or classroom: doors, chairs, windows, etc.
- Have children describe the illustrations in books.
- Introduce new words and explain their meanings, rather than substituting with familiar words.
- Label things, not just objects, but actions, ideas, feelings and other abstract concepts.
- Fill a bag or box with unusual items from around the house. Remove items from the bag one at a time, say its name and what it’s used for; allow children to do the same.
See all activities
Learn about another 6 by 6 skill: Look for Letters Everywhere