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10 Ways to Help Your Child Learn Vocabulary Words, Part II

In most subject areas, Missouri has shown improvement in National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) test scores over time. Vocabulary scores, however, have fallen over time.

Missouri’s teachers work with our public education students on vocabulary daily, but you can have a powerful influence on your child’s vocabulary education, too.

Today, we’ll more tips with you so that you can help your child learn, understand, and use new words.

2. Talk With Your Child Daily
One of the simplest things you can do for your child’s vocabulary development is to make time to have conversations with them every day.

The Child Development Institute suggests using dinnertime to help your children with their words:

“Encourage family discussions. Turn off the TV and talk. One of the best places is the dinner table…What to talk about? Things going on in the neighborhood; what happened at school; events that are coming up; family plans, family decisions, et cetera.”

Conversations don’t just have to happen at the dinner table. Use your time in the car together to ask your child questions about friends, school, and hobbies, and ask your child to help you shop as well. Learning to identify words on packaging in the grocery store, for example, is a great way to encourage reading, spelling, and vocabulary development.

As you talk with your child, try to use a variety of words, and — of course — use the best grammar you can. Your child will learn much of his/her vocabulary from hearing the things you say to him/her.

3. Encourage Your Child to Read Independently

As we explained in our recent post, “Why Vocabulary is Important for Missouri’s Students”, a strong vocabulary affects a child’s long-term and overall academic achievement. One of the best ways to learn new vocabulary is to read.

Math & Reading Help provides free resources for parents, to empower them to be active in their child’s education. In an article on the importance of reading, the organization says that,

“Continuous reading can increase your child's vocabulary, which will likely lead to a higher level of academic success. The more your child reads, the more accustomed he or she will become to using context clues as a means to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.”

Tomorrow, we’ll help you choose books for your child. We’ll also talk about subscribing to children’s magazines, attending book fairs, visiting your public library, and other ways to provide your child with a variety of appropriate and fun reading materials.

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