Choice Quality Balance

Building Vocabulary 2

By on Apr 15, 2014

If you've been following our blogs for a while, then you may have already read our first post on Building Vocabulary.  If you haven't, head on over to read the nitty-gritty first.  Here are some more great ideas that require little or no writing to improve vocabulary - essential for good writing.


1.  Get a magpie book - Magpies steal... so encourage your child to steal good words.  I usually buy supermarket shopping list books and collect words in there.  When you are reading a book or having a conversation, if you spot a good word - put it in the magpie book.  I just put them all in a list, in no particular order at all - there's something about the process of writing it down to help us remember.  If you're really organised, you might split it into sections for different types of word or theme.


2.  DO synonyms - Choose a boring doing word - like walked.  You could look in a thesaurus to find lots of different words for walked such as, ambled, trudged, shuffled, meandered and strolled.  You can then perform the different types of walk and get them to guess or give them a word that they have to perform.  It really helps when they are writing if they know what each verb actually looks like instead of writing it because 'it's a good word'.  This way, they are more likely to write sentences that make overall sense, rather than something like - The frail, old man galloped down the winding, steep road.


3.  1 Minute synonyms - Give your child a boring verb - like said.  Then let them have one minute to write down as many synonyms for that word that they can remember.  The first time they might get something like 7.  Look some more up just after and add them to the list and then do it again a few days later.  Give them a higher target than last time, encouraging them to beat their score each time.  When you feel you have exhausted one word, move onto the next.


4.  Word of the week - If you are a wordy person yourself, you may like this one.  Set a challenge to get a new, interesting word into conversation and/or writing - it might be something like 'inspiring'.  You could talk about all the different variations that could be accepted - inspire, inspired, inspiration etc.  Ask them if they managed to slip it into their writing at school in a sentence that made sense.


5.  Change the word endings - Think of a word and see how many endings you can think of.  You could start with adore.  The next person has to give it a suitable ending - adoringly, the next does the same - adored and so on.  When there are no more that are true, that person can think of a new word - but it must have a least one other ending.


6.  Is it a word? - Throw out some words and ask if they are words or not.  Is brillainted a word?  How about brilliantly?  What does it mean?


7.  Lastly, it sounds a little cheesy, but to cover those common expressions that they find difficult and can really liven up their writing - watch Catchphrase together, now that it's back on our screens.  You can have fun guessing the catchphrases and it will give you a brilliant opportunity to explain what they mean.  You could even add catchphrases to the 'word of the week' activity.


You can find some of our synonym activities here.


The most important things:

Little and often - before school, on the way home from school, driving to Gran's, walking around the supermarket,  before bed, at the dinner table, etc.

Repetition - Just like learning times tables, saying it once is not enough.


Have a question?  Could you share sentences your children have thought of or words that they have now learned?  Let us know your experiences to help others!  Please comment below.



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