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Word Window

Try making a smaller version of this classroom classic for your child's bedtime reading.
on January 09, 2014
 

When I was teaching, I always had word walls filled with new words we learned while in class. This is a fun visual strategy to work on vocabulary development. The size of a child's vocabulary has been shown to be related to their reading proficiency. It makes sense that children who have a lot of words in their repertoire face fewer challenges, since fewer words are unfamiliar.

There are lots of ways to build vocabulary, such as using a varied one yourself, choosing interesting and varied reading materials for your children, and other more targeted activities like a word window.

To make your own, you will need some window markers or window paint and some challenging reading materials. Books don't have to be beyond your child's reading level; they just need to have new and unfamiliar words that you can encounter together. Remember, you will be working on expanding vocabulary. As you come across a new word, talk about it, use the context to give clues to meaning, and decide if you want to pop it on the word window. You don't need to add every word to the window. Try adding the most challenging to pronounce, words that your child wants to see spelled out, or words that your child thinks are fun to use. Try using the words in conversation at home. And, as the window fills up, wipe off words that have been established in your child's vocabulary and use the space to add new ones.

Word windows are easy to clean up and add just a little bit of novelty to make building a vocabulary as much fun as it is important.

How do you introduce new words to your children? Tell us about it over on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.

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Get the latest advice, tips, and resources on helping your child read at every age and every stage. Each week, find kids' book reviews, ways to extend the reading experience, and tips on how to spark a reader's interests from our expert contributors and editors.

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