At HGC we emphasise the importance of continually developing a rich vocabulary in EVERY ONE of our students – from Kinder all the way through to Year 12!

Vocabulary is the cornerstone of communication. It influences the complexity and nuance of children’s thinking, as well as their verbal and written communications and comprehension of printed texts.

Whether we are 4 or 104, we can all improve our vocabulary. Developing our vocabulary is a continual process throughout our lives, beginning with the first words we utter.

HGC’s curriculum emphasises vocabulary building throughout all subjects and year levels. But there are ways you can help build your child’s vocabulary at home. Why not try some of these ideas with your child?:

Read, read and read some more. Expose your child to a wide variety of age appropriate literature. Fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines…you name it! The more they read and the wider the variety of texts, the greater the diversity of language to which they will be exposed.

Make conversation a priority. As well as being deeply rewarding for you and your child, conversation helps to expose children to using words in context during ‘real-life’ communications. Try using a variety of less common words, for instance instead of saying ‘I am feeling happy’ you could say ‘I am jubilant’ or ‘I am ecstatic’ or ‘I am content’.

Try labels. Post-it-notes can be a great way to label different objects around the house. As your child grows into adolescence, you can use post it notes around the house with unusual words along with their definitions. Challenge all the members of your family to use the word correctly in context before they are replaced. Bonus points for anyone who can use them more than once!

Play word games. Scrabble, boggle, crossword puzzles and word finds are a great place to start. Alternatively, you can give your child a sentence and ask them to ‘upsize’ the sentence using more complex vocabulary.

Use words in sentences. If your child gets spelling lists, try to use those words in real-life contexts at home.

Encourage your child to write for pleasure or purpose. Get them to send an email to a friend or relative, or to a politician petitioning for a cause they are passionate about.

Introduce a word of the day. You could use a word-a-day calendar, website or app to suggest new words. Or you can go ‘old school’ by randomly picking them them out of a dictionary.

Don’t dumb down your language. Children need to be exposed to a word approximately 12 times to fully assimilate them into their vocabulary. Children always have a bigger receptive vocabulary than expressive vocabulary: that is, they understand more words than they’re able to use.

Make a fuss! When your child uses new and more complex words, recognise their achievement with praise and encouragement!