Vocabulary is essential in helping children understand what they read and hear. For children who are lacking in their vocabulary knowledge, you may observe the following:

  1. He/she tends to use non-specific phrases such as “that/this one” when describing something.
  2. He/she misuses common words.
  3. He/she struggles to recount his/her day in a coherent manner.
  4. He/she often uses the same word repeatedly in his/her writing.

To help children learn new vocabulary and remember it, try to use a variety of strategies and repeat it in different settings. It is also important to note that these novel words/concepts have to be introduced meaningfully, and when the child is already focusing their attention on a specific activity or object. Some useful strategies could be to:

  1. Define words verbally. For example, “Weary is when someone is feeling tired.”
  2. Give real-life examples or comparisons. For example, “Smooth is what the apple you ate in the morning feels like!”
  3. Use words to describe relational and categorical concepts. For example, “Both apples and oranges are fruits. What else is a fruit?”
  4. Demonstrate concepts with actions and/or props. For example, “This is a whisk! You use it to mix ingredients together when you’re baking” and act out the motion of using a whisk.
  5. Introduce new words as synonyms of simple words in a meaningful context. For example, “Look at this tiny egg! It is so small that it’s almost the size of a coin!”