February 8, 2012

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Helping kids build their vocabularies: spell-offs and bedtime stories

We’re working on helping J- learn new words. The more words she learns, the more she can think about and communicate. Yesterday, we tried an informal spelling bee at home, and she seemed to enjoy it. J- chose words out of the Collins English Dictionary, and W- picked words out of the Stoddart Visual Dictionary. You can guess who had to spell words like “articulating”, and who had to spell words like “leontopodium.” I refereed, which mainly consisted of helping J- pronounce the words and giving hints as needed.

That was fun. W- and I developed our vocabularies through, coincidentally, the same geeky habit of reading pocket dictionaries in childhood. If the opportunity to stump her dad gets J- into reading the dictionary, then awesome!

You know, it would be great to have a manga series that used all sorts of obscure words. That might lure J-‘s interest in. Hmm. =)

We’re also reading stories together as a way to help her build her vocabulary. By reading together, we can ask her questions to test her comprehension and help her learn new words. Our bedtime story? Animal Farm. We read a chapter a day, and she has no problems with the material. I love the way Orwell characterized the animals, and we all laughed at the cat’s antics. We’re on chapter 4 at the moment, and looking forward to the rest of the slim book.