Building a large vocabulary is an essential part of learning to read, and as your child’s vocabulary grows, the easier it will be for them to be able to read fluently and comprehend the meaning of text as a whole.
As your child adds more and more words to their long-term memory, they will start to develop rapid, automatic word recognition skills, allowing them to recall the pronunciation and meaning of words, and eventually apply this meaning to the context of the story they are reading.
The more words that they understand and retain, the easier it will be for them to be able to develop fluency in their reading, and be able to comprehend these words together in the context of a story.
As they build up their word bank, your child will be able to use their working memory capacity to comprehend the text rather than trying to decipher every single word. So, the more words committed to their long-term memory, the greater will be their ability to comprehend written text.
Your child can then focus their mental processes to read for meaning, gain information and enjoyment from text, as well as add to their word and concept knowledge.
Some effective ways to help your child build their vocabulary include:
Using visual aids
Reading stories that feature pictures is a great way for your child to increase their word bank, helping to provide context to understand the meaning of these new words, as well as aid in their retention.
When a new word is introduced with a matching picture, associating the picture with the matching word can not only help your child understand the context in which the word appears, but aid in their retention of the word.
Reading from different sources
Reading a wide variety of stories will also help expose your child to an increasing amount of new words. Much vocabulary acquisition comes from reading a wide variety of texts and reading storybooks is one of the most powerful means to expand vocabulary. The more children read, the larger their vocabulary.
Encouraging children to role-play in a variety of situations helps them to learn about new words in context. Playing with simple hand puppets is a great way of encouraging your child to re-enact scenes from a favourite story. They can take on the role of the characters and role-play scenes for fun.
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