In a way, yes! A key part of our Jump Start Reading at Home early literacy program is our parent workshop series, in which we help inform and assist parents in their critical role as their child’s first teacher. Last night at Seigle Avenue Church, Yvonne Thomas lead a workshop where she modeled storytelling skills for parents. This week’s emphasis was on vocabulary building. Studies show that children who enter school with larger vocabularies do better academically and are better readers, so Yvonne shared some tips with the parents on how to get their children engaged in learning more words.
Dialogic reading (asking “what” questions) is a great way to teach vocabulary and help your child give more complete descriptions about what he or she sees. As she read the story aloud, Yvonne paused to give advice and examples of what kinds of questions parents could ask while reading the same story aloud to their own children. In general, some vocabulary-building storytime tips include:
- Point out the names of things your child may not know
- Ask "what" questions - like "What's this?" or "What's this called?"
- Follow answers with more questions
- Repeat what your child says, to reinforce correct answers
- Help your child with answers as needed
- Ask open-ended questions, and ask your child to say more
- Expand what your child says, to fill in the little words and add detail
- Follow your child's interests
- Have fun!