Is a large vocabulary necessary?
A large vocabulary is critical for reading comprehension. Many words that are common in print are rarely used in daily conversation. Your child can remember these words if they are studied using techniques that actively engage your child.
The best way to study vocabulary
Use index cards, which can then be added to games. The cards are easy to make, and can be personalized by using events in your child’s life. See the video above for an example of an active game using vocabulary cards.
Tips for creating effective vocabulary cards:
- Write the word large.
- Add a picture to the front. Make it funny if possible.
- Abstract ideas can be illustrated using stick figures.
- Use the word in a phrase in a way that relates to the picture (optional).
- Define the word on the back of the card.
- Keep definitions as short as possible. Cards can be rewritten to include new information on another day.
- Do not define a new word with more new words.
- If pronunciation is a problem, add a rhyming word that your child knows.
- You may want to write the page number of the book where you found the word. Return to the book to remind your child of the context.
When do we begin vocabulary study?
Vocabulary is discussed as it comes up with a child. With a young child you will usually focus on phonics first, but as phonics improves you will spend more and more time on comprehension and vocabulary.
Vocabulary cards can be sorted into two piles: words that you are currently working on and words that need to be reviewed. Keep the cards separate and practice the current words daily. The review words can be done weekly or even monthly.
Reading by Design shows you several ways to create vocabulary cards that are simple and visually interesting. You will learn a variety of ways to incorporate these cards into easy games and activities.