Why is Vocabulary Building Important?

Why is Vocabulary Building Important? thumbnail

Vocabulary development refers to the process of learning new words and understanding their meanings, which is an essential part of your child’s English language development.

Vocabulary encompasses everyday terms and sayings to more complex vocabulary words used in specific subjects, such as science and math.

As your child starts reading, having conversations, and taking part in different educational activities, they’ll come across and learn new words, slowly building their vocabulary as they progress through grades/years. Effective vocabulary development creates the foundation for strong English language skills and comprehension, allowing young learners to express themselves more confidently and understand the world around them better.

Vocabulary definition on a dictionary.

Why should I encourage vocabulary building?

Building vocabulary is vital for your child’s overall language development and academic success. A vast knowledge of words and their meaning will improve your child’s reading comprehension, writing ability, and communication skills.

By actively encouraging learning vocabulary, parents, homeschoolers, and teachers can help young learners express themselves more precisely and understand complex texts more easily. Investing in vocabulary building early on sets a solid foundation for lifelong learning and linguistic proficiency.

Reading comprehension

Vocabulary building is one of the main ways you can help boost your child’s reading comprehension skills. If your child has a strong vocabulary, they’re better equipped to understand the meanings of different words in texts. This vocabulary knowledge helps them identify similar meanings between words, improving their ability to interpret written texts efficiently.

By actively helping to expand their knowledge of words, you can support your child in becoming a better reader, setting them up for success in their academic journey!

Communication skills

Actively focusing on vocabulary building can also help improve your child’s communication skills. As their vocabulary grows, they’ll be able to express themselves effectively using appropriate words of their own choosing.

The richer your child’s vocabulary is, the more confident and articulate they’ll sound, both verbally and in writing. You can support your child’s vocabulary development by providing opportunities for your child to explore and learn new words in engaging and meaningful contexts (more on this below).

Meaning of words

Understanding the true meaning of words can be challenging, but expanding your child’s vocabulary can make this task a lot easier.

As your child develops a large vocabulary, they’ll become more adept at recognizing different types of words, such as synonyms and antonyms and identifying different parts of speech such as nouns, verbs and adjectives.

By learning about root words and word parts, such as prefixes and suffixes, your young learner will be able to break down complex words into smaller, more manageable components, allowing them to grasp the meaning of unfamiliar words quicker and in a way that makes sense to them. This in turn expands their vocabulary; they’ll be learning words that were once unknown to them.

Child using a thesaurus.

How do I help my child build their vocabulary?

Vocabulary can sometimes be overlooked and thought of as a not-so-important skill to practice, but through effective vocabulary instruction, you can help your child learn new words and improve other English language skills.

Here are a few ways to boost your child’s vocabulary skills:

Use a thesaurus

Whenever your child spots an unfamiliar word as they’re reading or writing, using a thesaurus can help them understand these new words by providing them with synonyms they might recognize, showing similar words that convey the same meaning.

As an added bonus, they can practice the actual skill that is how to correctly use a thesaurus as a learning tool and teach them even more new words!

Learning materials

Worksheets, flashcards, and word lists make for a great starting point to introduce new words to your child and/or practice recently acquired vocabulary.

For example, using a whiteboard to write down new vocabulary words, or handouts with different vocabulary-related exercises can make recognizing these words easier and more memorable.

By incorporating these learning materials into daily lessons or as an extracurricular activity, you can boost your child’s word recognition, improve their range of vocabulary, and help them become a more confident communicator. We’ve compiled a series of vocabulary resources to help you get started.

Apps and programs

Using apps and online programs can be a fun way to build vocabulary skills. These interactive tools offer engaging activities and games designed to expand your child’s word knowledge while keeping them entertained.

Some of these programs use alternative teaching methods to improve engagement and the general learning experience, such as employing a gamified approach to cover key reading & writing skills. This method is particularly effective for reluctant learners.

If you’re looking to try one of these programs, why not try ours?!

Night Zookeeper logo, displayed on tablet screen.

Our award-winning program makes reading & writing fantastically fun for children aged 6 to 12, whether it’s used as a homeschool curriculum or as a supplemental resource.

There are thousands of educational activities available, such as vocabulary games, interactive lessons, and exciting challenges that make learning to read and write fantastically fun.

Sign up today and get a FREE 7-day trial!

Got any questions? Email us at [email protected]. Follow us on social media for more tips, activities, and other resources:

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