for Teachers and Parents...
Your Children at Home with Vocabulary
are the first "language models" for children. The language children
use is modeled, or based, on what they hear from their parents. Parents
need to create an environment that enriches what a child hears. The words
he hears, he will usewith encouragement.
To start, take a look for a moment at the words you useand how you use them. Children who repeatedly hear, "I seen it" will imitate that language. And the probability is great that if they speak that way, they will write that way.
family discussions. Turn off the TV and talk. One of the best
places is the dinner table. That's one of the few times an entire
family is together. In a sense, it's a "captive" audience.
Set up some ground rules, such as "No eat and run," and
"Everyone will have something to talk about" during and
after supper. It's a kind of "hear and tell" time. What
to talk about? Things going on in the neighborhood, what happened
at school, events that are coming up, family plans, family discussions,
et cetera. But, remember, the conversation should be pleasant and
relaxing. This is NOT the time to bring up sins of omission or commission.
Lists. If your child has started formal spelling at school, post
the list on the refrigerator door. Use those words with your child
as discussions arise. Encourage him to use them in his responses.
a recording of words if you have a recording device, . Say the
word, define it, and use it in a sentence. (Select words that he will
find interesting.) Better yet, have the child do the recording. If
he's studying for a spelling test, he can also spell it on the recording.
of the Week" is a family game-like activity. Each person
selects a word, taking turns each week. For example, the first week
it might be Mother who writes a word on a card and puts it on the
refrigerator door. That word must be used as much as possible by everyone
that week. The next week it's Dad's turn, and then the children's
turn, and so on until it is Mother's turn again. As the words are
used, they are posted on a cabinet door to stimulate continued usage.
Questions" is a game that promotes several learning skills,
chief of which is reasoning with words. One family member thinks
of something which the other players must guess with no more than
ten questions. The first question always is, "Is it animal,
vegetable, or mineral?" This covers virtually every possible
thing the child could think of. Then, question by question, the
field is narrowed to likely possibilities. After the first question,
the following questions must be asked so that they can be answered
by "yes" or "no."For
some youngsters, "Ten Questions" might be too demanding,
so make it "Twenty Questions." One of the values of the
extension is that additional reasoning and logic can be expressed.
Stretch the game as much as possible. You can show, for example,
the process of moving from broad-based questions to more discrete
ones. In this way, your child will learn to ask questions such as,
"Is it located in the Northern Hemisphere?" "Is it
in the Western Hemisphere?" "Is it in the United States?"
"Is it land based?" and so on. This becomes an exercise
not only in vocabulary development but also in geography.
games with homonymswords that sound alike but are spelled
differently and mean something different, as in "sun" and
"son." For example, on the versatile refrigerator door,
post "rain - rein" or "reign - rain" or "pray
- prey" or "flower - flour." Ask family members to
add to the list. You'll be surprised at how many homonyms they will
The "penny game" is another way of encouraging vocabulary
development, even if your child is having difficulty with reading.
You might use a comic book, the comic strips or sports pages in your
local newspaper, or a magazine article. To play the game, the child
must know that some words start with a consonant followed by a vowelfor
example, "say, look, go, pay," et ceteraand that other
words begin with two consonants (called a blend) such as "grow,
plate, tray, brush," et cetera. (Note: Some words do start with
two or three consonants but are not true blends because one letter
is silent, as in "white, gnat, pneumonia," et cetera.) Tell
the child you'll give him a penny for every word he underlines that
starts with a blend.
Teams. A follow-up to the "penny game" is to list the words in
"teams," such as "fog/frog, bake/brake, pay/play, say/stay," et cetera.
guessing game can be fun. "I'm thinking of a word that starts
with "br" that is something you use to paint a house."
(Brush) "I'm thinking of a word that starts with "tr"
that is something we do to the bushes when they get too large." (Trim)
blend" is another family game in which someone gives a common
blendfor example, "tr"and, in sequence around
the table or room, everyone must think of a word that begins with
that blend"train, truck, truffle, try, tray, trumpet, truce,"
et cetera. When the list is exhausted, the last person begins another
blend, such as "st""stay, start, stick, stuck,
star," et cetera.
origins of facts about words can be fascinating family fare. For
example, the word "salary" had its origin in "salarium," which is Latin for salt. Roman soldiers received their pay in salt.
Ask your librarian to help you find books that will provide other
interesting examples of the origin of common words.
Suffixes are clues to word meanings. For example, "er" or "or"
at the end of a word suggests "one who." Example: conductorone
who conducts; trainerone who trains, et cetera. Each week a
new suffix can be selected to create words.
The "Take a Walk" game is an activity that brings family
members together in an enjoyable, relaxing way. It takes at least
two people. A walk is taken around the neighborhood or perhaps around
a local shopping area. On one trip the thrust may be, "Let's
name everything we see that begins with the letter B." On another
walk, it might be naming everything that begins with the letter G.
Or everything that is the color purple. You might add an element of
fun by saying, "We'll get one point for every word we name. Let's
see how many points we can get." (Involves arithmetic as well
rhyming game is always fun, particularly for young children, because
they can say any "word," nonsense or sense. Start with things
the child knows, such as parts of his body, and say, "I'm thinking
of something on your face that rhymes with (sounds like) rose."
From this point, once your child gets the idea, you can play it just
by saying words, such as "what's a word that rhymes with car?"
(jar, bar, star, far, et cetera) "How about a word that rhymes
with junk?" (bunk, skunk, trunkbut even runk, lunk, zunk
as nonsense words). Not only does this quick little game build vocabulary,
but it also teaches the child some fine tuning for the sounds of words.
Your Children at Home with Reading
Helping Your Children at Home with Arithmetic
Your Children at Home with Spelling
Your Children at Home with Handwriting
Helping Your Children at Home with Geography
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