How do you help your child learn new words? Writing words and their definitions over and over again is tedious and often not productive, and re-reading a list of words doesn’t necessarily help to better understand their meanings, or encourage the use of the words in a real context. Here are a few easy ways you can help your child learn the meaning of new words and practise using them in real contexts in a fun and creative way!
In this game, your child can work on memory skills by matching the target word with its synonym (or definition). Have your child write the words and synonyms or definitions on index cards (or do this yourself), shuffle them, and lay them out on the table/floor face down. Take turns flipping over two cards at a time, trying to flip over a word in the same turn as its corresponding synonym/ definition. The person who collects the most words (pairs of word + synonym/definition) wins.
*Depending on the words, the synonym/ definition could also be replaced with a drawing or picture of the word, or even with an antonym of the word.
Create a sentence with each of the words, then hide the word (with a post-it or small object) or cut it out of the sentence (if the sentences have already been cut into strips). Have your child guess which word fits in each sentence. Then have your child create his or her own sentences, and you guess which word fits!
This is a game in which two people create a story together using the target words. The first person starts the story with one of the two words (fortunately/unfortunately), and one of the target words (for example, “Unfortunately, Mason, a boy who had always wanted a dog, couldn’t have one because his parents were allergic to dogs.”), and the next person has to continue the story with a sentence that begins with fortunately, and so on, until all the words have been used in the story.
For more information on how to support vocabulary comprehension and fluency, or for one-to-one support in language learning (English or French!), contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at 416.925.1225 or visit www.ruthrumack.com.