5 activities to support your child’s language development

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Parents play a significant role in encouraging their child’s language development. Most children learn basic listening, speaking, reading and writing skills from birth through to grade three.

Studies show that children who are read to and spoken with regularly during early childhood will have a wider vocabulary and stronger literacy skills overall than those who aren’t. Additionally, there are many fun and simple activities that parents can do with their child to develop and support essential speech and language skills.

1. Storytelling

Storytelling is a great family activity that encourages language development and introduces new vocabulary. Make up stories together with your child including characters, conflict and a happy ending. Sit down to look at family photographs, talking about who is in the photograph, what they were doing and where they were. Ask your child to retell stories and set aside time for regular reading. You can even narrate the day with your child as it unfolds, e.g. “Now we’re going outside to water the flowers. When we finish, we’ll prepare the table for lunch.”

2. Labelling game

Cut pieces of cardboard paper and write the words for common items found around the house. These can include things like furniture, bathroom items, articles of clothing and children’s toys. Read each word aloud and ask your child to place it on top of the correct item. Gradually you can begin writing words for adjectives to describe household items. Include new adjectives that your child may not know and help them find items that can be described using that word. Encourage them to say each word aloud and even think of some of their own adjectives.

3. Picture book spotters

Read picture books with your child and pause to look at and discuss the pictures. Repeat what you have read in the story by pointing out to what is happening in the pictures. Encourage your child to make comments by asking them what else they can spot, e.g. “Big Ted is wearing his red shirt! What else is he wearing on his feet?” “The princess is sitting in the garden. What else can we see in the garden?”

4. Word chain

Building on the words and language your child already uses is an easy way to strengthen their language skills. Cut pieces of cardboard paper and write the words for different nouns and verbs your child is familiar with. Then write the words for different adjectives and adverbs. Help your child to make a ‘word chain’ using one noun or verb and as many adjectives and adverbs as possible. For example, if the word is ‘car’, you may select words like ‘big’, ‘fast’, ‘red’, ‘shiny’ or ‘noisy’ to create a word chain. Building language can also be incorporated into everyday situations. For example, if your child says the word ‘cat’, you can say, ‘soft cat’ or ‘sleepy cat’.

5. Role-playing

Role-playing is a fun and powerful way to expand your child’s imagination and introduce related language and words. Using costumes and props (or imaginary ones!), you can role-play scenarios which involve different characters to introduce related words and stretch your child’s imaginative play skills. For example, if you pretend to be a teacher, include as many related words as possible, e.g. classroom, students, blackboard, desk, books, learning, reading etc.

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6 Tips to Develop Your Child’s Vocabulary at Home

children vocabulary

Children who develop a substantial vocabulary are often able to progress in their reading more quickly and derive deeper meaning from books. Try the following 6 ways you can help your child develop their vocabulary at home:

1. Develop word consciousness – encourage your child to notice when they encounter new words, and to develop the habit of memorising these words. If they notice a new word, ask them to explain any special characteristics that it has. Reading Eggs is carefully designed to develop word consciousness in young children (see how it works with a free two week trial here).

2. Record words – using a recording device, your child can easily record a list of words they have learned recently and play them back to themselves to commit them to memory. Repetition is key to remembering new words, and hearing their own voice will make the activity all the more interesting. They can even record the meaning of each new word, and perhaps a sentence in which it can be used.

3. Set a ‘word of the week’ – designate a new word each week for your child to learn. Write it up on the fridge or whiteboard and try and use the word in regular conversation with your child.

4.  Use words in familiar contexts – try and introduce new words during activities that your child is familiar with. For example, if you’re baking a cake with your child, you can ‘whisk’ the eggs, and check the ‘thermometer’ on the oven.

5. Use intriguing words in conversation – if your child is learning new words regularly and is prepared for a challenge, pique their curiosity by introducing words into conversation that are long, difficult to pronounce or spell.

6. Teach words that are related – learning new words can be far easier for a child if the words they are learning are conceptually related. For example, your child could learn the names of different fruits, or learn words related to animals, or house-hold objects, etc.

Visit www.readingeggs.com to see how your child can learn how to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

3 Fun Games to Improve Vocabulary

3 Fun Games to Improve VocabularyFind a Word

Choose a word that your child doesn’t know and ask them to find the word in any books, magazines, newspapers – or anything else they can read. Once your child has found the word, ask them to choose another word that they already know and to find two examples of this word used in different ways. For example, the word ‘cook’ can be used as both a noun; ‘the cook prepared a delicious meal’ or as a verb; ‘we are going to cook dinner tonight.’

Make sure your child writes down these words and their definitions in a notebook, including the sentences they were found in so that they remember the different ways the same word can be used.

Word Groups

This is a word association game where you write down a word and ask your child to write down as many related words as they can. For example, for the word ‘vegetable’ they can list ‘carrot, potato, pumpkin’ etc, or for the word ‘dinner’ they can list ‘plates, eating, cooking, forks’ etc. This game is a very effective way for children to expand their vocabulary as writing words around a common theme makes it easier for them to commit these words to memory.

Complete the Word

Create a list of compound words, for example, ‘themselves, inside, something, anybody’ etc. Read this list out to your child, but only read the first part of each word, for example, ‘them’ in ‘themselves’, and ask your child to work out the rest of the word. There are many compound words that start with the same word and end in different words, for example, ‘anybody’, ‘anything’, ‘anywhere’, so if your child guesses one of these, challenge them to try and list all the others.

Visit www.readingeggs.com to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

Reading Variety and Learning New Words

Reading Variety and Learning New WordsGiving your child access to a variety of reading material at home is one of the best ways to expose them to a wide range of new words to enrich their vocabulary.

As your child discovers new stories and sources of reading material, they will continue to encounter words that they haven’t read before. Exposure to different types of text in different formats will introduce your child to new words in new contexts – words that they can add to their increasing vocabulary.

Your child’s reading doesn’t have to be limited to just story books. Exposure to different types of text in different formats will help them develop both their vocabulary and comprehension skills. Even daily tasks that you perform can pose as fun new reading opportunities for you and your child to explore. For example, you and your child can read the instructions on the back of a box, or you can sit together and write a letter, or you can even both simply read signs on the street or at the shops.

When reading something new together, make sure that you point out and explain any new words, including their meaning and how they should be pronounced. Later that day, you can ask your child to see if they remember what the new word was, and perhaps even what it means and how it is spelled. If they remember all these things, challenge them to use the new word in a sentence.

A great school holiday idea to expand your child’s reading is to take them to join the local library! Going to the library is like a fun excursion away from home, and the range of books on offer will be sure to spark your child’s interest in reading.

Visit www.readingeggs.com to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

Building Vocabulary with Everyday Activities

Building Vocab Everyday ActivitiesLearning to read and write while performing everyday activities is a great way to keep your child interested and motivated. Your child can learn a range of new words just by doing simple tasks around the house, and they will learn that reading isn’t confined to books.

Some everyday activities that you can use to teach your child include:

Cooking

Get your child in the kitchen this weekend. Cooking together is not only a lot of fun, but also allows your child to see you following recipes from cookbooks and reading instructions on packages.

Shopping

Next time you go shopping with your child, try pointing out signs, labels and writing on packages. This will teach your child that printed things have meaning.

Looking at photos

Family photograph albums are a great way to identify proper nouns. Talk to your child about the names of the people and the places in the photographs. Explain how they each need a capital letter when they are written down because they are proper nouns.

Going through old magazines

Old magazines can be used for a variety of activities including searching for and circling particular words, and or cutting out individual letters or sight words to create a collage e.g. words that begin with the letter ‘o.’

Keep a list of words

Encourage your child to keep a list of unfamiliar words that they may have encountered when reading. Make sure they find the definition for each of these words. This is a great way for your child to commit the new words to memory.

Visit www.readingeggs.com to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!