Lack of vocabulary is not always easily recognizable in children through daily conversations, but it can be apparent when it’s time for their reading class. Lake Forrest Prep is a private school in Orlando, which understands the importance of language development in children. We’ve come up with five valuable ways you can help expand your child’s vocabulary.
- Avoid the “Baby Talk”: Many children are able to comprehend words they hear much more than what they actually speak. Obviously, you’re not going to start speaking Shakespearean English to them, but speak to them as you would to any other adult. If they don’t understand, chances are they’re going to let you know.
- Extend the Conversation: Pay attention to your child’s verbal or non-verbal cues and initiate a conversation. Try to keep the conversation going by asking questions and having your child interested in the topic.
- Encourage All Kinds of Reading: Reading doesn’t just mean pulling out an educational book from the library. Children who’ve repeatedly heard a certain book or story will eventually begin to memorize them. Have your children “fill in” the words as you read together. This boosts confidence in younger children and is called “pre-reading.” For the older children, let them choose what kind of books to read. Mixing school books along with books to read for fun can really expand and expose the children to new words.
- Gently Correct Pronunciation: When you hear your child mispronounce a word or struggle on saying a word, kindly correct them. Being too assertive can cause the child to be flustered, which, in turn, steers them away from using new vocabulary. Just simply reinforce the word by replying with the same word in the correct pronunciation.
- Don’t Panic or Force: Children grow and develop skills at different paces. Children at age two can have a vocabulary list as little as 30 to as high as 300. When you see your toddler developing normally, don’t worry if the vocabulary isn’t being established as quickly as you would like. Another important factor is to never force your children to use words or to punish them for not doing so. For example, if they point to a book and say “uh” rather than speaking properly, reinforce vocabulary by saying “Do you want the red book on the table?”
No matter what the speed of learning may be, all children are essentially word-learning machines. We can’t force the pace of development, but there are definitely ways to aid their growth and help reinforce words. Lake Forrest Prep, a private school in Orlando, strives to help students of all ages in reading. If you would like to schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher or simply have any questions, please call us at 407-331-5144.