Q:

I know that supposedly, the bigger the vocabulary, the better the reader. So how do I go about building my children's vocabulary? -- Builder

A:

You are definitely on the right track in wanting to help your children enlarge their vocabularies. Two of the best ways that all parents can do this is by talking a lot to their children and by reading with them every day. This will not only help them understand more of what they are reading, but will also increase their listening and speaking vocabularies.

Don't spend a great amount of time explaining the meaning of a new word in either conversation or reading. Plus, be sure to put your explanation in a very child-friendly definition. Using synonyms is a great way to define new words. For example, "shrewd" can be more easily understood when paired with "clever," "smart" and "wise." And do avoid choosing too many words to define in either a conversation or while reading.

A new word is more likely to be remembered if you use it several times in conversations. Plus, try to encourage your child to use the new word.

Vocabulary building is not just important for younger children. Older children also benefit from hearing words their peers do not usually use in conversations and stories that you read together.