Vocabulary Development: Show Enthusiasm for Word Learning

When was the last time you learned a new word?

OR, when was the last time you heard a word that tickled your fancy and made you think, “Wow, I want to use that word too?” 

Were you excited to use it?

Did you show any enthusiasm?

If you want your child to be an enthusiastic learner, then you have to be enthusiastic when you learn something new. 

Enthusiasm is contagious.

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? 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.”

“Bamboozle”, “razzmatazz”, and “jabberwocky” are three words I’m excited to say the next time opportunity strikes! And, I hope my enthusiasm emits like a ray of light!

Enthuiasm quote steve irwinFor more vocabulary building tips, please see the following books and products:

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

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