We all know that the more words a young child can understand and use, the more successful they will be in school. What's the best way to increase any child's vocabulary?
Read - Read - Read!
When children listen to any book, they are hearing language and begin to see how context and picture clues can help them learn new words. In the short video clip above, the child hears words with tangible meaning like crew and rocket. But there are also opportunities to see how words like instead are used in the language.
It is important that our preschoolers enter school not only with large vocabularies, but also with the background of being able to determine word meaning by the other words, phrases, and pictures around an unknown word (context). When children have the freedom to listen and experiment with words, they are more likely to take chances and rely on context when they begin school.
This is important as research shows that children learn 300 to 500 new words each year through direct vocabulary instruction. This may sound like a lot, but researchers have also concluded that children learn about 2250 words per year simply by reading. What a big difference! It tells us that children who read and are read to are expanding their vocabulary while those who struggle with reading and are not being read to at home, are getting left further and further behind. The gulf widens. This is why we must continue to encourage all families to read. This includes speakers of any language. If families in your area feel more comfortable reading to their child in the language of the home, this helps children learn and should be encouraged.
NAEYC - 2.D.02, 2.E.04.
Head Start - VII.A.
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