Did you know that a typical 4-year old will have about 1,500-1,600 words in their vocabulary? By kindergarten, an average language learner has between 2,100 and 2,200 words. Six year olds typically use around 2,600 words but can understand between 20,000-24,000 words. By the time a child is 12 years old, she or he will understand about 50,000 words. That’s a lot of word-learning!
Building a robust vocabulary is vital for school success. This will prepare them for the language of learning and give them a foundation for reading and writing. So what words should a child know when starting school?
Think about the words we use as adult speakers, the high frequency words that pepper our conversation and can be used in any setting. These are words that are very hard to show in a picture. Words such as coincidence, absurd, industrious are more common than you think. Teaching these words to your child will add to his or her language ability.
If you want to know where to start, pick up some well-written children’s books. For example, the picture book Room on the Broom (by Julia Donaldson) is brought alive by words such as whined, clambered, ear-splitting, eagerly, flutter. When reading together, point out these words and give your child a “child-friendly definition”. For example, “Clambered means to climb on or over something. It’s what you do when you get up onto mum and dad’s bed. You clambered on my bed this morning.”
Does your little person have a vast vocab? Are they ready for the vocabulary they will need when starting school? Read more about how to build your child’s vocabulary.
Newcastle Speech Pathology can work with you to show you how to develop your child’s language skills. Call us to discuss your child’s progress and book an appointment for your child’s language and literacy assessment.
Stahl, Stephen A. (1999). Vocabulary development. Brookline, MA: Brookline Books.
Written by Alison
Newcastle Speech Pathology