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Why Vocabulary is Important

Vocabulary Leads to Success in School

The importance of vocabulary to success in school, and reading comprehension in particular, is widely documented. Several studies have confirmed the relationship between vocabulary size and academic achievement. Vocabulary is a strong indicator of student success.

Successful vocabulary development is associated with better vocational, academic, and health outcomes. Research also suggests children who don't have the opportunity for shared reading experiences are comparatively disadvantaged to those who do have regular shared reading time.

Reading aloud is one of the best things you can do for your child.

Parental Reading to Children Increases Vocabulary

The number of words an infant is exposed to has a direct impact on language development and literacy. But here's the catch: The language has to be live, in person, and directed at the child. Turning on a television, or even an audiobook, doesn't count. Parents need to read aloud to their children in order to best facilitate language development.

Research has shown that when parents read aloud to their children, it is beneficial for their cognitive development, with parent-child reading activating brain areas related to narrative comprehension and mental imagery.

Studies have consistently shown the value of reading and especially an engaged storytelling approach. In the storytelling approach, the adult reading to the child adds contextual information, which makes the child more interested and engaged in the story. The "Let's Talk" section of My Story Nest can help parents with this approach.

Some Tips to Increase Your Child's Vocabulary

  • Read to your children even after they can read on their own. Research shows the importance of parents reading with children – even after children can read.
  • As you read a passage, ask your child to create their own brain movie based on the text by imagining the characters, setting, and action as it unfolds.
  • Studies have shown that children benefit from hearing the same story a number of times, so reread their favorite stories. It's also a good idea to use some of the new language in subsequent conversation if possible.
  • When your child encounters a new word, use the story's context to model what the word means. Allow your child to discover the word's meaning from context.
  • Repeat the new word in the Let's Talk section.
  • Engage in conversations using the new word every day for several days.