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Vocabulary Development and School Success


Does your child have a large vocabulary? A child’s vocabulary development is more than just hearing spoken words and reading written words. Understanding the meaning of a large number of words is the key to understanding when reading. It follows that the larger a child’s vocabulary, the easier it is to understand and make sense of the written word.

Vocabulary development begins early—well before a child is able to read. As children begin communicating they are also developing their vocabulary. As young children build their vocabulary through reading, they also build the reading habits that will play a role in continuing to develop their vocabulary throughout life.

Vocabulary is not only a tool for communication but also a tool for comprehension and for knowledge acquisition.

Building a Large Vocabulary

Why does vocabulary size matter? Simply put, the more words that students know, the more they are able to understand.

The easiest way to build a large vocabulary is by reading every day. Research shows that vocabulary exposure increases with daily reading time. Between kindergarten and Grade 12, students with an average daily reading time of 30+ minutes encounter 13.7 million words in that time frame.

Vocabulary is key to reading comprehension. The more students read, the more words they will know. The more words students know, they more they will understand!

Students who are exposed to more vocabulary words performed better in reading comprehension. Similarly, students who score lower on vocabulary tests also scored lower on reading tests. A large vocabulary is a tool to help your child both understand the ideas of others and communicate their thoughts effectively.

  • Comprehension: Vocabulary is the foundation for comprehension. Unfamiliar words become holes in the text, preventing your child from completely understanding what he or she has just read.
  • Communication: A large vocabulary gives your child the ability to to express their ideas clearly.

10 Ways to Help Kids Build Strong a Strong Vocabulary with Reading

A strong vocabulary is linked to strong reading habits at home. But creating a regular reading routine at home isn’t always easy! By learning to make reading fun, your child is more likely to build a stronger vocabulary and adapt healthy reading habits that lead to vocabulary development throughout life. Check out our 10 Tips for Encouraging Strong Reading Skills at Home.

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