Tips on Teaching Your Child Vocabulary

I’ve been tutoring a sixth grade student in math.  Last week, he asked for help with a list of vocabulary words  for his English class.

For vocabulary lists, it is easier to remember words when you classify them by parts of speech.  I divided a legal pad in three columns, a column each for adjectives, nouns and verbs.  We took each word and put it in the proper column.  Sometimes a word was both a noun and a verb such as signal or a verb and an adjective such as lavish.       

We combined these words  into sentences, trying to use as many words from the list in one sentence.  Then we  “personalized” the words by using them in a familiar context such as:  “The liquid ambers in the garden look luminous.”  It’s spring and with the sun shining on the leaves, the trees indeed looked luminous, full of light.   

It was also helpful to find out about the origin of the word, the root word.  Luminous comes from lum , meaning light.  Other words in this family are:  luster, illuminate, and translucent

I recommend parents have on hand Instant Vocabulary by Ida Ehrlich.  Did you know secretary literally means “one entrusted with secrets”?   Secret means “a thing apart, hidden.”  The root SE means “apart, aside, without.”   Other words in this family are seclude, secure (to set aside carefully, to protect), secede,  sequestration, select, segregate and separate.  See how much easier it is to “decode” the meaning when you know the root word?

As a parent you are your child’s teacher, a hometeacher.  Always be learning.  Share what you learn with your children.  Communicate to them your passion for learning. Remember you are your child’s first and primary teacher.  Education starts at home.

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