Vocabulary

Vocabulary, knowing the names of things and understanding the meaning of words, is an important skill for children to have when they are learning to read.


The more words your child has in their “mental database,” the easier it will be for them to sound out familiar words when they start learning to read. Help develop your child's vocabulary by reading a variety of books with them, both fiction and nonfiction, and by naming the objects in your child's world.

Fun ways to develop vocabulary:

  • Explain unusual words in books—don't replace them.
  • Carry on lots of conversations with children.
  • Read non-fiction books that offer new words.
  • Show real items when possible. Especially for babies and toddlers—point to and name objects.
  • Use descriptive words whenever possible—“round ball,” “blue bear.”
  • Use words to express emotions (happy, sad, tired, scared, anxious, nervous) and use multiple words to explain ideas (when talking about being mad, say “angry,” “frustrated,” etc.).