How to increase your child's vocabulary?
While you learn how to teach a child reading it is very important to keep on working on increasing your child’s vocabulary through vocabulary activities and games. Researchers agree that reading comprehension and vocabulary size are connected.
There are many kinds of vocabulary that a child possesses:
- Receptive vocabulary (when you ask a child to do something and he/she follows your order without the ability to say those words).
- Productive vocabulary (a child learns from what he/she says or writes).
- Oral vocabulary (words that a child hears and memorizes).
- Reading vocabulary (words and letters that a child sees and recognizes without knowing how to write them – for example, their best friend’s name tag can be recognized among others).
- Sight vocabulary (recognizing words from frequent observation using sight words, often using sight words flash cards).
A great way of increasing your child's vocabulary is through vocabulary activities and games. Undoubtedly one of the best vocabulary games is a “New look” vocabulary game.
"New look" vocabulary game
Materials: magic box, different objects that you can put on yourself, for example - bracelets, scarfs, rings, hats, gloves, watches, jacket, etc.
- Firstly, get your magic box or magic bag handy again! As we promised, there are so many ways of using your magic tools in the learning process. Put in your magic box objects you can wear – large and small. Then ask your child to close his/her eyes, get the largest and the most noticeable object out of your bag and put it on.
- Secondly, ask your child – “What is new in my look”? He/she should say – “You’re wearing a jacket”. A child might not recognize the change at first – so give him/her some time to think. If your child cannot guess and looks puzzled, try giving him/her hints like – “I put something that we wear all the time in winter” or “I put on something to keep my arms warm”.
- After that start to wear less noticeable items like a ring or a bracelet, see if your child can notice them. Then switch places and let your child be the one who is changing their look.
- As a way to improve your child’s vocabulary have a little discussion about every object. Discuss shape, the purpose of wearing, size, color, sensory feelings etc. For instance – hats. Ask your child “How many hats are there”? Your child might say – “Two”. You can ask – “What shape is the first hat, how about the second one? Where can I go wearing this hat? Is this color matching my eyes? These kinds of questions promote cognitive thinking and teaching critical thinking skills. Your child will need to analyze and reason about the color of the hat and the color of your eyes and whether they match or not.
- Continue discussing objects with further questions - ask your child sensorial questions - “What does the object feel like”? “Is it soft and smooth”? “Is it warm or cold”? Keep asking questions until you feel that conversation feels natural and interesting - share your opinion with your child too. Whenever he/she gives you his/her answer, tell them what your opinion about this object is. Sharing should be mutual, then it is enjoyable by both!
- Often children develop a grammar and vocabulary file based on this game from words they want to know. A child dictates words that he/she wants to add to their vocabulary – could be a ring or a scarf, as this game has many bright and colorful objects that might fascinate them. Your child asks you to write them down for him/her. Keep vocabulary activities going even after this vocabulary game for kids.
- You can write a word or two every day together in your child’s vocabulary book. It is a great way for your child to learn new words and improve vocabulary. Many early childhood educators suggest a vital role in the number of first words learned in the child’s cognitive development.
- At the end of the game ask your child what are the first sounds of every object you were working with. Try to find their names among your alphabet letters.
Another great vocabulary activity is "Last letter word"
- There can be any amount of players in the game. One person says a word, for example, "cat".
- Then, the other person needs to make a word with the last letter from your word - for instance, "tool".
- Then the first person creates a world with the letter "l" and so on.
In conclusion, we would like to say, that working on your child's vocabulary size is an extremely important tool if you want to teach your child reading. It promotes language, literacy and public speaking skills which will be extremely important for your child's future development.