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“Vocabulary enables us to interpret and to express. If you have a limited vocabulary, you will also have a limited vision and a limited future.”
Jim Rohn (American author and entrepreneur)
Sameer, a fresh 21-year-old graduate looked dejected as he checked his mail. His dream company had rejected him in the interview. “I knew all the answers! But, I just couldn’t get the right words to express myself,” he confided in his friend.
As someone rightly said, words are powerful. They have the power to destroy or create. A vocabulary is the range of words used in a person’s language. Vocabulary is the most useful tool for communication and acquiring language. Many a dejected candidate, a failed student or an individual lacking confidence attribute the cause to a poor vocabulary.
Vocabulary development needs to begin at a very early age. The broken syllables used by a baby to express himself to his mother constitute the first stage of vocabulary development. From then, the child picks up words as he hears them from his parents and family members. Often, we come across a toddler picking up words from a rhyme or song which he frequently listens to, even though he is unable to comprehend the meaning. This shows that familiarization and listening are the initial ways in which a child starts building his vocabulary. Later, as he starts school, he continues enriching his little bank of words as he listens to his teacher and starts flipping books. Many proud parents claim how eagerly their little one looks forward to listening stories. However, as the child grows up, he is no longer interested in stories or books. This is a common complaint we come across. They prefer gadgets and television to books. This is a big hurdle to his vocabulary development. A good vocabulary is absolutely essential for a child to express himself meaningfully and present himself as a confident individual to the world. It is a powerful medium through which he can establish his individuality and presence in a fast-growing competitive world. How then can we assure that our child’s vocabulary is well built? It is important that this process begins early. Here are few ways in which we can focus on vocabulary building:
Indulge in meaningful conversations with your child. Ask him to narrate a funny incident that happened in school. Discuss how your own day was with your child. Use new words every time you have a conversation. For example, if you asked him yesterday if he was tired, you can ask him today if he was exhausted or weary. Explain the meaning if he is not sure.
Make it fun
Vocabulary building need not be boring, or it would be a turn off for the child. Encourage the kids to play word games such as Pictionary, Scrabble, Hangman or name-place-animal-thing. Such games are a great entertainment on rainy days, besides enriching your child’s word bank. Keep a ‘Word Theme’ Party and you are guaranteed to have loads of fun and education!
For older children, quizzes work well. Have a spell-bee competition or a quiz on synonyms/antonyms or collective nouns.
Involve the family:
On weekends, involve the family in activities such as ‘weave a story’ or dumb charades for proverbs. The family that talks together stays together!
Read, read, read:
There is a strong connection between students’ reading and their vocabulary. The love for reading should be instilled early. Big picture books and flash cards are great ways to hold a toddler’s attention. As they grow, encourage them to read signs on roads, restaurants and public places and try to make sense out of them. Reading headlines in the newspaper should be a daily activity in homes. Books are also a great way to keep the child away from gadgets. You may need to involve yourself too in the reading activity till the child develops an interest. Rewarding the child with a good book instead of a toy or chocolate will help him increase his curiosity for reading. As Rudolf Flesch quoted, “You can’t build a vocabulary without reading. You can’t meet friends if you stay at home by yourself all the time. In the same way, you can’t build up a vocabulary if you never meet any new words. And to meet them you must read. The more your read the better.”
Many such activities will help enrich your child’s word bank. Being equipped with a rich vocabulary gives the child the confidence to express himself logically and clearly. It helps him step into the world confidently and enables him to understand and grasp ideas. It also strengthens your child’s persuasion abilities and the ability to convince people. With a great vocabulary and the ability to communicate fluently, we would enable our children to grow into confident individuals and great leaders.
About the Author
Mrs Rashmi has done degrees in Engineering and Management, She is passionate about the English language. She has worked as an online tutor for American students in English writing skills. Also, write freelance articles for companies. English grammar and essay writing are specialised areas in English.
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