Vocabulary Development: Show Enthusiasm for Word Learning

When was the last time you learned a new word?

Did you show any enthusiasm?

Were you excited to use it?

If you want your child to be an enthusiastic learner, then you have to be enthusiastic when you learn something new. After all, enthusiasm is contagious.

vocab develop enthusiam for word learning


Photo Credit: stephanie.nichelle

Vocabulary Development: Show Enthusiasm for Word Learning

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Model the behaviors you want to see in your child. If he sees your enthusiasm, he will be motivated to model your behavior.

Here are three simple ways to show enthusiasm for word learning:

  1. Tell them you’re excited. Doesn’t get any easier than this. When you tell a child you learned a new word, she realizes that learning doesn’t stop with age. Learning isn’t just for children. We are ALWAYS learning. If you can’t remember the last time you learned a new word, perhaps your vocabulary needs a little fertilization? Read 10 Sure-Fire Strategies to Improve Your Vocabulary. You can even purchase a learn a word a day calendar to show your child that you’re serious about learning new vocabulary too.
  2.  Read aloud. Read anything aloud. Reading aloud doesn’t have to occur only when your child is quiet, sleepy, and ready for bed. It can happen before bedtime. Moments for reading aloud do not need to be isolated to high quality, shared book reading. You can read aloud during daily activities or when running errands. Read the newspaper, read a brochure, read instructions, read horoscopes, read the comics…read anything aloud. By doing this, you’re conveying, “Hey, I’m reading something that’s interesting and I want to share it with you.” Reading anything aloud also increases the likelihood that your child will hear a word that he or she may not have heard during casual conversation.
  3. Play with words. Be silly with your words – use playful idioms, puns, and rhymes. If your child doesn’t understand a word or idiom, encourage him to ask. In high school, I had a teacher who had a knack for teaching history by using these amusing idioms, quotes, and sayings. Her delivery either made you want to ask, “What does that mean?” or its precision would paint a picture in your mind. Because she appeared to have so much fun and was confident, I wanted to emulate her. I’m still not there yet. However, during my sessions I use appropriate but colorful phrases to keep my clients on their toes. Here are some idioms that my young clients find particularly amusing:

“It’s raining cats and dogs.”
“Hold your horses.”
“A piece of cake.”
“Break a leg.”
“Butterflies in my stomach.”
“Cool as a cucumber.”

How can you show enthusiasm for word learning?

Enthuiasm quote steve irwin

For more vocabulary building tips, please check out my book, Learning to Read is a Ball

as well as the following posts:

Vocabulary Development: Why Is It Good to Re-Read the Same Books to Your Child?

7 Ways to Improve Your Pre-Schooler’s Vocabulary through Conversation

Kimberly Scanlon, M.A. CCC-SLP is a speech language pathologist, an author and a mother. As the owner of Scanlon Speech Therapy, LLC, a unique boutique practice in Bergen County, Kimberly embraces individuality and treats the whole person. Her goal is to spread compassion, hope, and some speech, language and literacy tips one moment, one person at a time. Her first book, My Toddler Talks: Strategies and Activities to Promote Your Child’s Language Development and her second book, Learning to Read is a Ball are available for purchase online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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