Monday, May 28, 2018

Colorful Words

We like to encourage the use of interesting (colorful) words. This helps children expand their vocabulary. Research tells us that most students (not just young children!) learn more new words from reading books or having books read to them than through explicit vocabulary instruction. In fact, reading helps grow vocabulary more than 6 times as much as direct instruction. This is powerful and shows us that we need to read books to our classes and encourage families to share books at home. Of course, this should be done in any language. Unfortunately some families are hesitant to read to their offspring in their home language. We should advocate for this to take place as there are many benefits to hearing the language of literature and informational text. 

But there are fun activities we can do to heighten awareness of words and encourage word play, especially in homes over the summer. We like to use paint chips and talk about the progression from light to bright colors. This can seen below.

We then find what we call a dull word. Examples include walk, said, good, mad, etc. The list can go on and on. We suggest doing the first paint chip activity as a modeling activity (see our post here) and then encourage children to keep a paint chip or two taped to a wall. They can add to the words on this paint chip as they listen to books or conversation around them. This encourages children to be good listeners and on the look-out for interesting additions to their age-appropriate thesauruses. 

Tell children they do not need to have all spaces filled in one day. Paint chip collections should be a part of a summer of oral language and word play. 

At the end of vacation, families can read the words together and choose their favorites. You can also encourage children to use the more colorful words in daily conversation. This is vocabulary development at its best! 

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC - 2.D.04, 2.D. 06, 2.G.07.
Head Start - IV.A., VIII.A., VIII.B.

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