How Reading Helps Kids Improve Their Vocabulary

Reading frequently is one of the most effective ways to increase vocabulary. In fact, children who read outside of school for just ten minutes a day will likely have a much stronger vocabulary than their peers who don't read as much. Read on to find specific ways reading improves kids' vocabulary skills and what you can do to help your child at home.

Find available tutors

How Reading Can Help Your Child Improve Vocabulary

Why Reading Is Effective

Reading allows kids to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words using context clues. Furthermore, students tend to remember words more easily when they see the word in meaningful context. Seeing how a word is used is as important as learning its definition. We have all experienced seeing unfamiliar words in a book or newspaper, but many times we can pick up the general meaning of these words because we understand their usage in the text.

Read a Wide Range of Materials

The reading materials your child uses should be obtained from a variety of sources, including both fiction and non-fiction. This way, your child will be exposed to a wide range of new vocabulary terms. It's most beneficial to select from informational resources such as magazines and newspapers, as well as interesting books and stories. Additionally, it's important to involve your child in the selection process to provide motivation.

When picking out a text for your child to read, keep in mind that vocabulary building is best associated with text that is at or slightly above the child's reading level. This reinforces familiar vocabulary while still introducing new words.

Encourage Active Reading

It's important to make sure your child comprehends what he or she is reading. Too often children think reading is simply saying the words they see on the page. They must also be actively involved to ensure comprehension.

In the primary grades, read to your child and have your child read back to you. As you do this, be sure to stop and evaluate words. Ask your child what different words mean. This will get your child in the habit of identifying new and unfamiliar words in the future.

Older kids might benefit from keeping a vocabulary notebook, where they write down unfamiliar words that they can look up later. If they own their own copy of a book, they can also highlight unfamiliar words for later reference. Another suggestion is to read your high school student's assigned novels and discuss the vocabulary with him or her.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth