Building your child's vocabulary helps strengthen speaking, reading, and writing skills. And a great way to jazz up your early learner's acquisition of new words is creating a vocabulary journal, which gives him an opportunity to investigate any words of interest.
Introduce the vocabulary journal as a place to collect and interact with words he hears or sees in his reading. Each page should be dedicated to a singular new word. Multiple encounters with the words will help make them part of his natural speaking vocabulary. Here are seven ways your child can interact with the word in his journal.
1. Draw a picture of the word. It can be a quick sketch or a detailed drawing. If the word isn't a noun, it will require a bit more creative thinking. For example, if your word is glistening, your child might use sparkly glitter crayons to draw a snowy scene. Brainstorming ideas for pictures is great to encourage even more interaction with the word.
2. Write the word creatively. He might choose to write glistening in a fancy script or with sparkly gel pens. If the vocabulary word is stocky, then he could write the word in big wide block letters.
3. List synonyms for the word. For our glistening example, synonyms could include sparkling, shiny, and twinkling.
4. Make a list of examples. You might use "glistening diamond rings," "snow banks," or "disco balls." "The sun shining on the water glistens" and "glitter covering the kitchen floor glistens."
5. Think of non-examples. A list of things that are not glistening include chapped skin, tarnished silverware, and shadows.
6. Find or write a sentence that uses the word. If your child discovered the word in a book, copy the sentence where the word was found. Or, he can write his own original, creative sentence.
7. Create a kid-friendly definition of the word. The definition for glistening might be "something that is glistening is shining or sparkling." It's helpful to start the kid-friendly definition with the phrase, "something that" or "someone who."
In addition to these tips, there are a variety of helpful tools available for creating excitement about vocabulary words and building journals.
- Try Collins COBUILD Student's Dictionary for definitions in kid-friendly language.
- Use online dictionaries such as the kid-geared Wordsmyth.
- Play games such as Apples to Apples.
- Read to children. It's great for building vocabulary. Check out Donovan's Word Jar by Monalisa DeGross or Max's Words by Kate Banks, which are both about being word collectors.
Encourage your child to explain his new words to others. Encourage him to bring his journal to the dinner table, or spend a little time discussing new entries in the journal while snuggling before bed. Remind him to revisit past entries too -- the more interactions with the words the better.
Pretty soon, your child will be wowing you with both his speaking and writing vocabulary.
For more vocabulary ideas, check out 3 Ways to Build Vocabulary at the Dinner Table and Boost Vocabulary with Word-A-Day Activities for All Ages. And, don't forget about the January Reading Challenge #NewYearReadingChallenge. Grab the January printable calendar.
Connect with Jodie at Growing Book by Book.