Promoting a love of and curiosity about words doesn’t have to include flashcards or dictionaries. With young children, there are so many natural opportunities to learn and share new words.
- Praise children when they ask about an unfamiliar word
“That’s great that you asked about a word you don’t know.”
- Praise children when they let you know they don’t understand
“I’m glad you asked about that.”
- Show your own word consciousness
“Isn’t that a wonderful word?” or “What does that mean?”
- Create interest in words
Read picture books with rich vocabulary
Introduce new words with interesting sounds (platypus, squishy, etc.)
A bigger vocabulary will also mean you have better conversations with your child. To promote better talking make sure to ask open-ended questions, offer explanations, expand on ideas your child shares, and don’t shy away from big words. If you don’t mind things getting messy, learning words through sensory experience is pretty fun – after all, the best way to learn the word squishy is by squeezing something squishy!
Beyond Bedtime Stories: A Parent’s Guide to Promoting Reading, Writing, and Other Literacy Skills from Birth to 5 by V. Susan Bennett‐Armistead, et. al. (2nd Edition © 2013)