Our fast-paced and competitive world requires that we prepare our children as best we can. Vocabulary is key to understanding the world and developing strong communication skills. Not only should we teach our children a vast store of words, but we must teach them how to assimilate new words into their mental warehouses quickly and effectively. Here are six fun ways you can help your kids learn new vocabulary words.
1. Designate a weekly “Cool Word.”
Each week, pick a word for your family to study and use. Write the word on a piece of paper or chalk board somewhere in your house so everyone can see it. Include the word’s definition, pronunciation and a short sentence so everyone understands its usage.
Encourage everyone to use the word in various forms as much as possible. Turn it into a little game to spur everyone to experiment often (a little competition helps). Mom and dad should use the word as well. As your family becomes more advanced, designate several weekly words. I know a family that lists 10 words each week!
2. Host a story contest.
Children are excellent imaginers, so appeal to their creative side by asking them to compete in a story contest. Give a topic (but keep it broad) and a few vocabulary words to use in their story. Give them plenty of time to brainstorm and write, then have someone judge the winning story based on how well the vocabulary words were used.
3. Keep your eyes out for the coolest new words.
Ask your family (grown-ups too, of course, it’s much easier to get kids involved when everyone is excited) to keep an eye out for new words. Record the words when they are spotted and save them for Sunday dinner, where everyone will reveal their interesting words, explain how to use them, and offer an example sentence. You can vote on who found the coolest word.
4. Act out new words.
You can switch up your teaching style by having everyone get a bit physical. Offer an interesting vocabulary word and explain its meaning and usage. Then, have your kids act out the word to demonstrate their understanding. Not only will they learn vocabulary in a different and interesting way, but you can be sure they fully understand the concept. Professional players can turn it into a Charades-like game where the players guess which word from a pool of new vocabulary words the actor is imitating.
5. Play the word game.
When you have some downtime (like car road trips, airplane flights, or time in a waiting room), play a vocabulary word game. Choose a theme like “Hollywood” or “places.” One person starts by coming up with their own word related to the theme. The next person has to think of a word that begins with the last letter of the previous word. For example, player one might start with “director”. Player two would offer “Robert Pattinson”. Player three would say “Narnia” (going with the theme: “Hollywood”). Continue as long as you can.
6. Subscribe to the Cool Word Club.
The Cool Word Club is an online community of smart kids, parents and teachers that aims to increase the vocabularies of people everywhere. Subscribing to the free email newsletter gets you two new vocabulary words each week in a short blog post (includes a story using the word, the definition, pronunciation by clicking a play button, and a question to encourage creative thinking); two vocabulary practice questions; and an end-of-the-week challenge. Signing up is free and everything shows up right in your inbox. Check out their Facebook page, too! Find Cool Word of the Week, Cool Book of the Week and more.
Guest Blog Written by Tasha Mayberry, Cool Word Club Ambassador
The Cool Word Club (CWC) is an online gathering place for some of the coolest and smartest kids in the country! The Cool Word Club (CWC) can help your child enrich his/her vocabulary. The CWC is a new and unique interactive forum that allows students to participate in a lively online discussion on the meanings and usages of a wide range of vocabulary words.
Because the CWC believes that students have a lot to say and need a place to express it, on our website we also pose general questions—often related to current events—for our online discussion. On our Facebook page we post:
Cool Word of the Week
Cool Word Question of the Week
Cool Book Friday
Cool Word Quote
- And all this is free!
Visit www.coolwordclub.com to become a member or to get more information.
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