“Vocabulary plays an important part in learning to read. Beginning readers
must use the words they hear orally to make sense of the words they see in
Consider, for example, what happens when a beginning reader comes to the word dig in a book. As she begins to figure out the sounds represented by the letters d, i, g, the reader recognizes that the sounds make up a very familiar word that
she has heard and said many times. It is harder for a beginning reader to
figure out words that are not already part of their speaking (oral) vocabulary.
Vocabulary also is very important to reading comprehension. Readers cannot understand what they are reading without knowing what most of the words mean. As children learn to read more advanced texts, they must learn the meaning of new words that are not part of their oral vocabulary.”
What can you do at home to increase your child’s vocabulary?
Ø Talk with your child to build his/her oral vocabulary. - Be open to questions
and ask follow up questions. It’s also okay to use words your child might not
understand. Follow up the new word with its meaning. For example, say the
dog was furious when someone took his bone. Furious means really angry or
Ø Read aloud – Continue to read aloud to your child even after he/she is able to
read independently. Choose books above your child’s level because they are
likely to contain broader vocabulary. This way you are teaching him/her new
words and how they are used in context.
Ø Preview words – Before reading to or with your child, scan through the book,
choose two words that you think might be interesting or unfamiliar to your
child. Tell your child what these words are and what they mean. As you read
the book, have your child listen for those words.
Ø Word collecting – Have each family member be on the lookout for interesting
words that they heard that day. At dinner or bedtime, have everyone share
the words they collected and tell what they think it means. If a child shares
an incorrect meaning, guide him/her to the correct meaning. Try to use some
of the words in conversation.