Read a book that has slightly higher-level vocabulary than is familiar to the child and has simple, defined pictures that can be used to identify numerous characteristics. A book, such as Stranger in the Woods, by Carl Sams II and Jean Stoick is a good example.
Encourage the child to look at the pictures and determine the meaning of certain vocabulary (e.g., “the munching muskrat”).
The child uses a variety of means to determine meaning: Pictures, context, asking for meaning, etc.
Early childhood educators can explain to parents how play, games, and books can help the child practice concepts and expand her vocabulary. When reading books, discuss the colors, shapes, sizes of objects, kinship relationships of characters, etc. on the pages. The same can be done in daily activities. Make a game of spotting different colors or textures, for instance. Books can expand vocabulary. Adults should explain the meaning of words they think may be unfamiliar. Help the child learn how to figure out what a vocabulary word means from looking at pictures. The child can also infer meaning of vocabulary by analyzing the context in the text. Reinforce the child when she asks about words she doesn’t know. “I love it when you ask what a word means! That makes your brain smarter!” Have the child share new words she has learned. Explaining what something means to another child allows the adult to assess understanding and clarify when needed.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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