There is nothing quite as astonishing as a child’s capacity to learn a language. At birth, a child has the capability to learn any language in the world! As they focus on the sounds that are part of the language they are learning, they will drop the other sounds usually around one year of age.
Babies come into this world unable to speak a word, and then they babble, form two-word sentences, and by the age of three they have an astounding vocabulary of around 3000 words! Don’t forget that the words you speak are important from the start because your child is building a vocabulary long before he utters his first words.
Talk while you do – One of the best ways to help build your child’s vocabulary is to talk with them. Talk while you are doing an activity by explaining what you are doing and why you are doing it. This may seem simple, yet most parents are too rushed or simply forget to use descriptive words. While you are cooking dinner, take time to describe how you are chopping, dicing, peeling, sautéing, boiling, whisking, baking, roasting, etc. Name the stove, burner, oven, table, chair, sink, dishwasher, refrigerator, etc.
Read to your child – Reading is not only the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for independent reading, but it is a bonding activity that builds trust between you and your child. Reading can serve as a springboard for expanding your child’s vocabulary as you ask open-ended questions to discuss the story. Choose books that have illustrations that are bold, vivid, playful, and attention grabbing. Children love rhyming books and books with silly words, such as any Dr. Seuss book. Try a picture only book and add your own words.
Identify Feelings – By giving children words to help them understand how they are feeling not only are you helping to build their vocabulary, but you are helping them to recognize and give meaning to the way they feel. This will develop empathy as your child learns to understand how others feel, which in turn promotes their social development and social success. Try to expand on everyday words by using words such as frustrated, content, silly, anguished, confused, worried, elated, etc. To help you build your emotional word bank, visit: Feeling Words From A-To-Z
Label Objects – This can be done anywhere at any time. Basically, you just label everything you see! This can be a super fun activity that can also be very exhausting. If you are out on a walk, you can name the sidewalk, tree, dandelion, spider, duck, lake, pond, pebble, porch, trash can, sun, clouds, etc. If you are driving in a car, you can label the stoplight, stop sign, car, truck, motorcycle, colors, car, business signs, tail lights, license plates, and road signs. Create a “word-rich” environment that will encourage rich and varied connections among words. The more words a child understands and the deeper their knowledge of those words, the more success they will have as they get Ready for kindergarten
Sing Songs and Fingerplays – Music is a great way to engage children of all ages, and it supports language development and phonemic awareness. Children love to sing and dance to music. Rhyming words and repetitive lyrics are attention grabbing and easier for children to remember. Try “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “The Wheels On The Bus” or “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. You and your child may have fun creating a silly rap song and performing it for the rest of the family. Click Here for more ideas
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