Monday, October 3, 2011

On Vocabulary development

My mother-in-law is the preK director for her district. At an inservice a couple weeks ago with a social studies expert, the presenter discussed the importance of fostering vocabulary development through conversation. She encouraged using "harder" words when we talk to our kids--her point was that if they are learning what the word means anyhow, we can teach them more complicated words and it really won't be harder for them to understand. Her example was using the word "adjacent" when referring to something that is next to something else. I have really been trying to stay mindful of that in my conversations with Quinn.

Often I will do this by using the word she may already be familiar with, and then rephrasing using the new word. For example:
"Your shoes are next to your backpack--adjacent to your backpack. This helps her use context clues to determine what the new word means.

Vocabulary development is such an important part of developing strong readers--if children don't know what words mean, their comprehension is very low. Introducing new words naturally through conversation is a great way to stretch your child's words a little bit!

I've been working hard not to sell my daughter short in our conversations and just limit her to words she already knows. Her daddy is amazing at this, naturally. I am constantly marveling at the words he uses with her in conversations without me ever talking to him about the concept of vocabulary development. Go Daddy!!