A good vocabulary gives a student confidence and assurance in both written and verbal communication, an increased affinity for reading, and better performance at school.
It is important for students (especially younger ones) to be aware of the kinds of vocabulary they will encounter. Generally speaking, there are 7 types (my favorite is #3!):
Synonyms: words that have simiilar meanings
Homonyms & Homographs: pairs that are often confused, and how to keep them straight
Foreign Words: words that English has “borrowed” from other countries
Misleading Words: ones that don’t mean what they sound like
Power Words: words that evoke an emotional response when read or heard
Antonyms: knowing the antonym increases the chances of remembering a definition
Verbal Analogies: testing critical thinking through relationships
Vocabulary skills are fundamental in reading critically. The benefits of a strong vocabulary are far-reaching. As an informed parent, you are already aware that the educational landscape has shifted dramatically this past year.
Common Core standards have been implemented, the NJ ASK is no more, and PARCC testing is now being used. Most parents (and students) have expressed surprise at how much more difficult and challenging the new standards are.
As you read together with your child (especially if they are grades 2-8) … make note of which of these types of words they are struggling with. Having your support will encourage your child to enjoy reading, retain more information, and take the time to engage in the content.