What can you, as a parent, do at home to enrich your child's vocabulary?
First of all, all the games we mentioned in the previous column can be also played at home. Besides giving their vocabulary a boost, the games are good for quality, non-screen, family time and an opportunity teach good sportsmanship. Give this a go next Shabbat afternoon!
Another good thing to do at home is to read to your child. This is much harder for a teacher to do in her classroom, but can be a fun parent-child thing to do. Whether it's reading to a two year old by merely naming the pictures on the pages of "Hop on Pop" or "Charlotte's Web" to your 3rd grader. Often you will find words in a book that are not used at home – whether it's snow and skiing for the child in the Judean desert or milking a cow for the child who lives in a city.
Transport someone to life in the Alps with Heidi, or a beautiful story of friendship with the unlikely spider and pig of Charlotte's web. Furthermore, I have enticed my children or students many times into reading a wonderfully vocabulary rich book by starting them off. Since books have 17 times the number of vocabulary words than speech (Sally Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia), reading on their own will give them a huge advantage in reading, vocabulary, text comprehension - all the skills of reading that are necessary to read at higher levels.
Gaila has over 40 year of experience teaching and runs A.H.A.V.A., a non-profit to promote English literacy. Would you like to ask Gaila a question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message. Look out for more Dear Gaila columns