Build Vocabulary With Books

January 07, 2016

A book is the perfect place to find new words. That’s one reason children who love reading tend to have rich vocabularies. Here are ways to help your youngster learn words from books.

A well-rounded reader
To expose your child to different words, choose different kinds of books to read. For example, in folktales and historical fiction, she may notice old-fashioned words (alas, blacksmith). In books about plants or animals, she’ll see science terms (sprout, nocturnal). And stories set in other countries can teach her words from around the world (crepe, sari).

Vocabulary-rich retellings
While you read to your youngster, help her jot down unfamiliar words. Talk about their meanings, or look them up in a dictionary together. Then, encourage her to retell the story to you — using the words on her list. (“The tortoise moved at a steady pace. The hare was too boastful.”) Saying the words in sentences of her own will help her understand and remember them.

Favorite words
Ask your child to pick out her favorite new word in a book, and have her be on the lookout for the same word in other books or in conversation. For instance, she might read about a “precious little kitten” and notice “precious gems” in a non-fiction book on minerals. Seeing and hearing a word in various settings can help her “get” all its meanings. Idea: Suggest that she draw pictures showing a word in several contexts.

For more great ways you can work together with your child for learning success, be sure to check out this month’s Reading Connection Newsletters for grades K-2 and grades 3-5.

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