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For children to be successful in school, they need a strong vocabulary. This especially helps them to understand what they are reading. Experts tell us that children need to read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books and to have specific words directly taught to them. They also need to understand how to learn words on their own, and they should spend time playing with language in a variety of ways.
In Narrowing the Language Gap: The Case for Explicit Vocabulary Instruction, authors Kate Kinsella and Kevin Feldman provide a model for vocabulary instruction.
They tell us to:
These strategies can become a game in your household. Vocabulary words can be written on index cards once they are learned. Then the child can choose a card and see if they can use the word correctly in a sentence. Or, children can earn stars when they correctly use a new vocabulary term in ordinary conversation that they think of on their own. Ten stars might earn a special treat such as ice cream or a trip to the local park.
Remember that it takes multiple encounters with a word before it truly becomes a part of a person’s vocabulary. So, continue to use the new words in everyday conversation when appropriate.
There are many websites that will give you a word of the day; you can find them by searching on the web. Or, check out this free "Word of the Day" app for the iPod from VocabDaily.