Vocabulary skills in Kindergarten predict later reading success, and are directly linked to a child’s overall school achievement. Therefore, it is important for parents and caregivers to encourage vocabulary development through conversations, interactions and everyday routines. Here are some simple tips to help build your child’s vocabulary:
- Use daily routines to introduce new vocabulary. You will be surprised at how many new words your child will learn, if you spend each week focusing on vocabulary that is centered on eating, bath, play and bedtime.
- Repetition is essential! Remember that your child needs to hear a word several times before he feels comfortable using it.
- Actions and pictures go a long way! Instead of just explaining the meaning of a new word, show your child pictures or the actual object to improve understanding. You can also show him what a word means by using actions and gestures. For example, teach the word “driver” by getting in the car, holding the steering wheel and beeping the horn!
- Let your little one take the lead. Introduce words that relate to your child’s current interests. If your child is enthusiastic about cars, talk about the wheels, doors, horn, stop and go. Focusing on a topic of interest will ensure your child is engaged, and better able to recall the new vocabulary he is hearing.
- Remember to talk a lot to your toddlers (1-2 years old), and use more advanced vocabulary when speaking to your preschoolers (aged 2-3). Both quantity and variety of words spoken impact your child’s vocabulary growth.
Parents and caregiver’s play an important role in a child’s vocabulary development. Remember, using the simple tips in this article can get your child on the path to successful reading and school achievement.
IlanaKlain, M.Sc., CCC- SLP, Reg. CASLPO
Speech-Language Pathologist at Simone Friedman Speech-Language Services