How to help your child do well
Vocabulary mainly develops from two sources: conversation and reading. Some tips to help your child improve their vocabulary:
- Make time to talk with your child. Discuss topics using adult-level words and phrases - don't simplify for your child. Children have a larger receptive vocabulary (listening and understanding) than expressive (using words for themselves). Choose topics from home, school, TV, social media, the news etc. Five minutes a day is a good start. It's easy to build in on a walk, cycle or car trip.
- Ask their opinion. Listen to them express themselves and reflect their conversation back to them occasionally with correct expression/more sophisticated terms e.g. "Let me see if I have understood. You're saying that.........
- Ensure your child reads from a variety of books/ magazines /websites. Include non-fiction topics of interest to your child - there is a higher level of vocabulary here. Ask them about what they've read (see point 1 above)
- Play games such as Scrabble, Boggle, Hangman.
- Take advantage of your smartphone or tablet. Apps such as GRE Vocabulary Builder by Magoosh (free for IOS and Android) is a good start for senior primary. A level can be repeated until your child is ready to advance to the next. Creating an account saves progress between sessions.
- Check out websites like www.theschoolrun.com or www.helpmykidlearn.ie for more ideas.