2021 Why is Vocabulary Important

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Why is vocabulary important?

Vocabulary refers to the set of words that children know (receptive language) and use (expressive language). Children can learn words by hearing them, asking questions, practicing them in sentences and reading.

Vocabulary is the basis for learning language and can support reading comprehension. As children learn to read they use their vocabulary and word knowledge to make sense of what they decode (sound out/identify words).

Once children become proficient readers, the focus on reading becomes an opportunity to learn about new vocabulary and information.

How can families encourage vocabulary development?

  • Talk to your child about their surroundings and experiences
  • Engage with your child during pretend play and act out a story
  • Play board games and talk to your child about new words and ideas
  • Read to your child and expose them to a range of books
  • Read with your child and consider taking turns to read

What kind of words should I use when talking to my child?

All words can be put into a category depending on how we use them in sentences. It is important to model and expose children to a range of words.
  • Noun – a noun is a word that gives a name for a person (e.g. Ashlee), place (e.g. school) or thing (e.g. pencil). Pronouns are words such as I, he, she and they.
  • Verb – a verb is the action word (e.g. run, jump and hop). We use verbs in different ways in sentences depending on present, future or past tense (e.g. ran, jumped and hopped).
  • Adjective – an adjective is used in sentences to describe nouns (e.g. fluffy dog). Other adjectives can give information about colours, shapes and features of objects, people and places (e.g. tall building).
  • Adverb – an adverb is used in a sentence to describe the way an action is done (e.g. I ran quickly). An adverb can tell us when, where, why or how a verb is done.
  • Preposition – a preposition often tells us about the location of a noun (e.g. in, under, across and down).
  • Conjunction – a conjunction is a connecting word and is used to join words, phrases and sentences (e.g. and, but, so and because).
Keep an eye out for more tips about communication and learning from me in future newsletters.

Ashlee Hamilton (Speech Pathologist – School Based)
ahamilton@bne.catholic.edu.au