Vocabulary Recognition Through Interactive Play and Written Word
Vocabulary is a concept that homeschool parents often initially relate as a school-based activity. However, vocabulary building begins long before many parents even consider school choice.
Humans begin their vocabulary development at roughly the same time as their verbal language development. However, they start building mental vocabulary the moment they are born.
You can begin building your child's vocabulary through interactive play and written word as early as they can focus their eyes, which happens around the age of six to eight weeks old.
Importance of Developing Vocabulary
The foundation laid for our vocabulary will ultimately determine how extensive it becomes. You can't compare the power of language to any other skill. An extensive vocabulary opens a world of possibilities and increases reading comprehension. There have been many publications that focus on the importance of developing vocabulary. One of the most notable is this one:
Vocabulary knowledge is knowledge; the knowledge of a word not only implies a definition but also implies how that word fits into the world.
— Steven Stahl (2005) [source]
Differences in Early Development of Vocabulary
Children develop their vocabularies in two different ways. The first way they learn vocabulary words is indirectly, or by hearing other people use the word correctly. Later, they develop vocabulary skills directly as well, through reading and writing using different outlets. Vocabulary words are then processed into their daily speech patterns. So why do some children develop a larger vocabulary index than other children of the same age and classroom experience?
Some children have a larger vocabulary because:
- Living in a home with plenty of verbal stimulation and family members with a broad vocabulary.
- Better opportunities for building background experiences.
- They are read to at home frequently.
- They read independently on a regular basis.
- Being taught how to develop word consciousness at an early age.
Some children have a limited, below grade average, vocabulary because:
- Vocabulary development is not encouraged at homes.
- Their real world experience is limited.
- They have limited to no exposure to books.
- They are reluctant to read.
Children whose parents regularly encourage them to read, ask questions, and learn about concepts outside of school are more likely to have an inadequate vocabulary. Many times, these children come from disadvantaged homes. Without early intervention, children with an inadequate vocabulary do not recover well in school, and the vocabulary gap grows larger each academic year.
How Your Child Learns Vocabulary through Games
If you are looking for an effective way for your child to learn vocabulary, there are tons of games available online, and they are free of charge. There are other games you can get on a subscription basis. Games are a fun way to reinforce your child's learning and a fun environment.
The words your child hears on a regular basis, and the words they need to use on a regular basis help to build their vocabulary. Games that require them to use their vocabulary knowledge, or use new vocabulary words will increase their vocabulary and allow them to develop the knowledge they will need later in life.
Check out Fun Vocabulary Activities to Keep Your Child Interested to find out more about the free online possibilities for your child.
Learning Vocabulary Through Written Word
We all remember the days of writing vocabulary words five times each or 10 times each. However, this is not the most effective way for children to learn their vocabulary. They must know how these words fit into life. By having your child write the words in a sentence, or having them use the word in a variety of phrases, you will provide a better foundation.
Make sure that your child writes the word as a whole, not in segments. They should also write the sentence as a whole. After your child has written the word and used it in sentences, see if they can use it appropriately in an everyday sentence. Knowing the meaning of a word will help them develop accurate, real-world knowledge of the word, which is how it becomes part of their vocabulary.