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5 Vocabulary Tips: Easy, Everyday Ways to Develop Kids' Skills

By Beth Richman, Ed.M., Senior Curriculum Advisor at Noggin

Use Big Words!

When talking with your child, don’t shy away from using interesting, challenging and meaningful words – especially ones that are fun to say! Hearing and understanding big words helps kids’ vocabulary grow, and they will be better able to describe their world, as well as their thoughts, feelings and needs.

Talk with Your Child Every Day

A two-way chat gives kids a chance to increase their vocabulary while practicing conversational skills. Need some inspiration? You can ask your child to tell you a story about their day. Can they describe a fun activity they did? What made them laugh? What kind things did they do for a sibling or friend? You can also boost kids’ vocabulary by engaging in everyday conversation during playtime, while running errands, or traveling. What interesting things do they notice at the playground? How about the grocery store? What do they see from the bus or car window?

Make New Words Come to Life

There are lots of ways to make the meaning of words clear for young children. You can find pictures in books, magazines or online to help explain new vocabulary. Art projects are great too – draw or paint a picture of the object or a relevant situation that will help to define the word. You can also act out words or use your own facial expressions to make learning new words fun and meaningful!

Read to Your Child

Being exposed to different kinds of books and stories is a great way for young children to hear vocabulary that might not be a part of their everyday experiences. Your local library is a wonderful resource; there are also lots of great e-books to choose from on Noggin, starring your child’s favorite characters! As you read, pause briefly to point out an unfamiliar word. Ask your child to guess what it might mean, based on clues in the story or pictures. Support your child’s curiosity about language by encouraging them to ask you about any new words they hear.

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Less is More!

Introduce just a few new words each week, so that your child isn’t overwhelmed. Kids learn through repetition, so look for natural opportunities to use these words again and again, in different contexts. Pretty soon, you’ll be hearing your child use these same words in conversation with you!

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About Ailey

Since its first historic performance in 1958, Ailey has been innovating and evolving the perception of American modern dance throughout the world. Noggin is honored to partner with them in helping kids all over get up moving, learning, and expressing their feelings through dance. Because movement has meaning when we dance how we’re feeling!