Parents, use your words! Don’t be afraid to use big words around your kids. Don’t worry about whether your kids know exactly what each word means. The important thing is that they are used to hearing a rich variety of words early in life. Be a good WordParent and you will have great WordKids.
You can’t start too soon. According to one study, when preschool teachers showed “sophisticated vocabulary use during informal conversations” with preschool age children as well having conversations which included “analysis of stories and discussion of words” these same children showed stronger vocabulary scores than their peers by the time they were in fourth grade.
Don’t wait for your child’s preschool teacher to do this. You can do it yourself. Keep in mind that “sophisticated vocabulary use” for a preschooler is fairly ordinary vocabulary use for an adult. When you find a new word, share it with your kids…let them hear you use it in ordinary conversation. It will make a big difference in their language skills during their early years in school and help them to be more confident as they move through school. So use your words during casual conversations and read stories with your children and discuss them together. I can suggest a few Cardboard Box Adventures books with convenient lists of questions that are great for doing this!
Here’s another feature of the CBA books: they contain words and expressions that are not in your average preschooler’s vocabulary. Please keep in mind that the CBA books
are written for children and parents to read out loud together so they can talk about the stories. That means that parents will be there to help children out with any unfamiliar words. This provides a great opportunity for casual conversation about words…a crucial element in establishing a solid foundation for future language skills.
Side note: For parents or teachers using CBA books as teaching aids, I provide vocabulary sheets for each of my stories on my website as well as vocabulary matching worksheets.