small text medium text large text

BLAST Early Learning Teacher Spotlight:
Vocabulary Fluency

Vocabulary is knowing the names of things.

Infants learn vocabulary quickly. Research findings by Janellen Huttenlocher and others of the University of Chicago show that this growth is clearly linked to the extent their parents converse with them.

A child with a large listening and speaking vocabulary has an enormous advantage in learning to read. Reading comprehension depends more than any other single skill on knowing the meanings of the individual words in the passage.

Sample Activities:

  • Take time before book to describe an unfamiliar word.
  • Sometimes one word has several meanings. Even though it is used one way in the book, you can talk about its other meanings before you start the story.
  • Pick a word from a book, rhyme, or song.
  • Add descriptive words.
  • Have children repeat less familiar words.
  • Use non-fiction as a source of materials that offer new words.
  • Talk about theme, adding less familiar words and explaining them.
  • After reading a book, go back to an interesting picture and talk about it, adding less familiar words.