If your child discovers the joy of words early, you’ll see her develop into an effective and powerful communicator. While one can improve vocabulary at any age, child development specialists believe children learn new words with twice the speed of adults. Here are some ideas to make the words learning process simpler.
Interest fuels a child’s ability to learn and retain new concepts and words. Find a subject in which your child is interested and discuss it with her, introducing her to new words in the subject. If she is interested in tennis, read up on the sport together. Find biographies of tennis legends and discuss them with her. This may require extra effort, but it will be worthwhile. Try books or sites that label the different parts of things and creatures. If your child loves cars, learn about motor-car accessories, cycles, scooters and even airplanes.
The magic of word games
Nothing is as enjoyable as play. Once a week, pull out a word game for the family to join in. Scrabble, Boggle, Crosswords or similar games can draw out less commonly used words. Your enthusiasm will be contagious. While games like Scrabble can never go out of fashion, if your child is net-savvy, go online to play new word games. Some of the most popular sites are Ask-Oxford (puzzles and games), GameHouse and BlackDog’s word games. Books or periodicals with crossword puzzles, wordsearch, scrambled words or other word-play games can also be tackled together for the fun of it.
Entering the wondrous world of books is a fascinating way to improve one’s vocabulary without really giving it much thought. Reading aloud is enjoyed by toddlers as well as older children. It’s also great way to bond with children and slip in new words. Explore different ways to keep replenishing your stock of books. Take advantage of online libraries, second-hand bookstores, swapping with buddies and book fairs.
Introduce your child to poetry, including limericks, free verse and haiku. It will improve vocabularly. While writing poetry with rhyming words, provide a dictionary, thesaurus and online tools to help. Writing journals, stories and narratives also builds word power, and is an enjoyable creative exercise.
Over dinner, or on vacation, you could declare a ‘rhyme time’ meal where everyone tries to talk in rhyming sentences. Another time, it could be ‘American English’ or ‘Victorian English’ depending on the books you are reading or the television programmes you watch.
Word play in all its forms can be enjoyed throughout life. And you’ll be amazed by the skill with words that your child begins to display.