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Ways to grow a young reader's vocabulary

Improve Literacy Newsletter

11 June 2010 -- Issue 23

Hi there!

In this edition we're going to be looking at ways to build a young reader's vocabulary. Let's get straight into it!

In this issue:

1. Activities and exercises to do with your child to improve vocabulary building
2. 10 websites to visit to help with vocabulary building
3. The new-look Improve Literacy website
4. ALNF's Hands Across the Nation Appeal
5. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

1. Activities and exercises to do with your child to improve vocabulary building

There is no question that we are judged by the words we use, and a first impression at a job interview can be tainted by a bad choice of words. Vocabulary building is a crucial skill for a young learner, and here are a few exercises for you and your child to try out, to help build vocabulary.

i) Encourage your child to carry a small notepad and pencil around with her, or carry one for her. Then when she encounters a new word, get her to write it down in the book, along with its meaning if you like. Alternatively you can wait until you have a dictionary handy, so your child can discover the meaning for herself.

ii) With an older child, sit down with him and read a newspaper article. It's great if you can get him to read it out loud, and then when he stumbles over a word he doesn't know the meaning of, ask him to highlight it. At the end of the article you can both look up all the highlighted words in the dictionary. Check if the article makes more sense now that he knows what these words mean.

iii) Play a thesaurus game. Choose a word, but don't tell your child which word. Then look it up in the thesaurus, and read out all the words that are similar to the selected word. Your child's task is to guess the word you chose, from the clues! This can be a great game to play with the whole family.

iv) Dinner table conversations. The dinner table is a good place to have natural conversations over a meal with the whole family. Ask your children to tell you what they did at school that day, at the same time telling them what you did at work, or at home, or wherever you were. It's also a great opportunity to talk about upcoming events, family plans and decisions, holidays etc. Just try to keep it light and enjoyable, as otherwise kids can be easily put off wanting to talk.

v) Play 'Word of the Week'. Each week a different member of the family chooses a word, and writes it on a card, Post-It note, or a whiteboard (if you have one). Everyone then has to use that word as much as possible during the week - you can even keep a tally of who has used it the most, and have a competition with a prize. Over days and weeks, take advantage of opportunities to use each new vocabulary word in conversation.

2. 10 websites to visit to help with vocabulary building Vocabulary for Beginning Level English Learners Vocabulary for Intermediate Level English Learners

Reading Rockets


BBC Words and Pictures

Play Kids' Vocabulary Games -

Learning Games for kids

3. The new-look Improve Literacy website

We recently launched a new character selection and payment process for our personalised children's storybooks on our website We've simplified the whole process now, so please pay us a visit.

4. ALNF's Hands Across the Nation Appeal

One of our partners, the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF), is preparing to launch their 2010 Hands Across the Nation Indigenous Literacy Appeal for indigenous Australian children. You can watch their campaign video on YouTube and become a Fan on their Facebook page

5. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Keep up with our latest news, as well as child literacy-related news articles and interesting information pieces.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

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