Learning Words: How to Teach Your Child New Words

At various stages of your child's development and education, he or she will be learning new words and how to use, read and write them. Keep reading for a few tips on how you can help your child with this process.

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Helping Your Child Learn New Words

How you'll go about teaching your child new words depends largely on his or her age. Before your child begins learning how to read, he or she will be learning words. Understanding that words are connected to objects and feelings may help your child make the transition to reading and writing more easily. Below are ways to help your child expand his or her vocabulary through speaking, reading, writing and activities.


From when your child is a baby though to elementary school, how you speak to her can help her learn new words. As your child develops, use more complex language in an understandable context. In addition to context clues, the tone of your voice may also make the meaning of new words clear. Even as your child gets older, chances are that she will imitate your speech and try out new words when speaking.


The more your child reads, the more his or her vocabulary is likely to grow. Encouraging reading in your household is one of the best things you can do to help your child learn new words. As your child reads, have him keep a list of the words he didn't know. Either using context clues or a dictionary, your child should actively define the unfamiliar words and write them down on his list.


When your child begins to write, she must begin to connect concepts not only to the sounds of words, but also the letters on the page. After learning a new word, have your child use it in a sentence. This way, she's not only understanding the dictionary definition of the word, but is also synthesizing her own context for the word.

Worksheets, Games and Activities

There's a wide variety of content available online that may help you increase your child's vocabulary. From exciting, visual games to simple word games, like hangman, you can find sites offering vocabulary games at little to no cost.

Use online worksheets to quiz your child on standards-based vocabulary. Consider using flashcards to solidify your child's understanding of words or activity books, which give your child repeated exposure to the words.

There are many creative activities that you can do around the house to help your child with new words. For example, when your child begins learning how to read and write, you may want to make labels for household things. Instead of labeling the items yourself, have your child read the word aloud and find the correct object.

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