You can help your child learn new words. To be a good communicator, your child must understand and use many words. During the preschool years, words must be added to your child’s vocabulary continually. You can help your child learn new words during everyday activities at home. Use the following suggestions as you talk with your child:
1. Choose meaningful, simple words. Include different types of words-nouns for naming people, places, and things, and verbs for naming actions.
2. With some new words, it might be helpful to use a gesture. For example, waving your hand for “bye-bye” or holding out your hand when you say “Give me.” Change your tone of voice and use different facial expressions to help your child learn the meaning of different words. For example, if angry is the word to be learned , you might frown when you say, I am angry.”
3. Teach a word in its most natural context first (learning “kick” while kicking a ball). Always start with the most natural, common use of a word possible. For example, point out common birds you see every day as examples of “birds” rather than a goose or a penguin.
4. A child learns a word as a meaningful sound when it has been experienced in a variety of ways (seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling). Using real objects to teach words is far better than using pictures.
5. The word to be learned must be presented or said when the object or experience is present. Do everything possible to make a clear association between the word and what it represents.
Learn more about LEARNING NEW WORDS in part 2 of this segment.
Reference: Communication Skill Builders
Author: Leslie S. McColgin
Editing: Pam Hass, M.A. CCC/SLP Interactive Therapy Inc