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Early Literacy Play Tips: Vocabulary

Early literacy is what children need to learn about reading and writing before they actually begin to read and write. 

Developing specific skills through fun activities help prepare children to become strong, successful readers in their future. 

Today’s early literacy skill area is: VOCABULARY

Vocabulary is knowing all kinds of words and what they mean. 

Why is vocabulary important? 

  • Children that know a lot of words will have an easier time when they start reading, because they’ll be better able to make sense of what they’re sounding out. 

  • Strong vocabularies help support all areas of a child’s communication and comprehension skills, including speaking, listening, and understanding. 

  • Studies have shown that vocabulary growth is directly related to a child’s achievement in school.  

What are some ways you can build your child’s vocabulary? 

  • By TalkingJust engaging in back and forth conversations with your child, especially at a very young age, can build their vocabulary. And promote great bonding time!  

  • By Singing: Sing songs to transition your child from one activity to another. From breakfast to play time, play time to lunch, or lunch to nap time. You can even create your own original songs together. 

  • By Reading: All children have their favorite books that they love to hear over and over againRepeated readings of books help children be exposed to and learn different words. 

  • By Writing: Select a word for your child to find and point out in their favorite book. After they practice writing the word, have them draw pictures around it that illustrate what that word means. 

  • By Playing: The game What Am I? not only builds vocabulary, but it helps children imagine and problem solve. Example: I am red, and round, and you can eat me. What am I? 

By engaging in activities like these, you will help develop your child’s reading and writing skills, preparing them as they transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Also, keep your eyes out for our Reader Pan and Tinker Spell’s Literacy Activities, which will provide additional fun games that you can play alongside your child! 


We hope our at-home play ideas have been helpful to you! If you are able, please support Port Discovery Children’s Museum by renewing your membership, purchasing a gift membership for someone, or making a contribution of financial support.

Port Discovery's At Home Play Tips & Resources is generously sponsored by M&T Bank

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