Vocabulary is simply knowing the names of things...lots of things, objects, feelings, and ideas.
Why is it important?
It's much easier to decode a word on the page when it's a word you already know. So kids with bigger vocabularies have an easier time when they start to read, since it's much easier for them to make sense of what they're sounding out.
What Can You Do?
- Talk with the children before and after storytime.
- After a story, go back to a page with an unfamiliar word or phrase (example: In One Monday Morning by Uri Schulevitz, you might go back to the jester and royal barber and ask, “Does anyone know what a jester is? How about a barber? Look, he has a pair of scissors in his hand…").
- Choose books with rich language.
- Never substitute words...use a synonym to explain the word (sometimes prior to the reading and at other times as you come to the word in the story).
- Read non-fiction as well as fiction.
- Present puppet shows and activities that present concepts: over, under, up, down, beside, around, near, far, tall, short, fast, slow, large, small, left, right, etc.
- Share activities about opposites.
- Talk about the emotions of the characters in the story.
What do you like to do to include this skill in storytime? What tips do you like to give to the grownups?