Gift your child word power

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 almost any age, specialists believe children learn new words with twice the speed of adults. Here are some ideas to make the words learning process simpler.

Get nosey

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 new words into the context. If she is interested in tennis, read up on the subject 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 fun 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 BlackDogs word games. Books or periodicals with crossword puzzles, word search, scrambled words or other word-play games can also be tackled together for the fun of it.

Reading time

Entering the wondrous world of books is a fascinating way to improve ones vocabulary without really giving it much thought. Reading aloud is enjoyed by toddlers as well as older children. Its also a 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.

Creative Writing

Introducing your child to different forms of poetry like limericks, free verse and haiku will also help her improve her vocabulary. While writing poetry with rhyming words, provide a dictionary, thesaurus and online tools to help. Writing journals, stories and articles can also help to build word power, as well as enjoy the creative exercise.

Creative talking

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 youll be amazed by the skill with words that your child begins to display.

– Benita Sen

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