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The 4th stage of the reading process is vocabulary development. Decades of research have shown that preschool children with large spoken vocabularies go on to be stronger and more successful readers in middle school. To be "on track" with vocabulary development, we generally like to see 6-year olds knowing about 10,000 words and then being able to learn 2-4 new words each day throughout 1st and 2nd grades.

Two of the most important ways that parents can build vocabularies in their pre- and early-readers is to (1) use new and different words when talking with their children on a daily basis; and (2) read picture books and stories with rich language. Other ways to build vocabulary with your early readers include:

  • Make "word thermometers" that show the shades of meaning between groups of word, such as content, happy, joyful, ecstatic
  • Practice spelling and review meanings

    • Scrabble
    • Boogle
    • Play hangman (or - make me smile, where you build a smiley face with lots of silly features)

  • Learn how to type with a software program that includes spelling and vocabulary practice
  • Learn Latin/Greek roots
  • Tell riddles, jokes, and puns
  • Play Pictionary
  • Play charades to act out word definitions
  • Learn a Word of the Day and see how often you can use it in conversation
  • List - Label - Group words

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April 04, 2020


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