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how to expand DS's vocabulary?

(15 Posts)
xing Wed 26-Feb-14 16:28:42

8-year old DS (born in UK) loves reading and I have always made sure he has plenty books to read. As English is not my first language, I used to spend a lot of time/effort to learn/memorise English vocabularies. I wonder if there is a need to find him a book/website/tool so that he can expend his vocabularies as well. His reading level is above his year group.

columngollum Wed 26-Feb-14 16:34:06

A dictionary?

LurkingNineToFive Wed 26-Feb-14 16:35:49

I don�t think you need to do anything he will be learning new vocab every day at school, in the classroom and the playground
However if you want to get book about the body/planets/geography etc. and do 'word of the day' and things im sure it won�t do him any harm. do you speak to him in your mother tongue? if not maybe you could teach him that.

overthemill Wed 26-Feb-14 16:38:56

Reading lots is best way to improve vocabulary

Enb76 Wed 26-Feb-14 16:40:09

The best thing to do is get him to read, and not necessarily modern books but things with more challenging language. Swallows and Amazons, Moonfleet, etc...

Spaghettinetti Wed 26-Feb-14 17:35:53

The more words you use at home, the great his vocabulary will become. I wouldn't plonk the lad in front of a computer, but maybe play a game after dinner, where you think of a word and list as many synonyms as you can. You could do it from your memory whereas DS could use a Thesaurus. The aim would be for him to find more than you, but you could have a 10 or more for a special prize to engender motivation.

You could also make lists of words with different prefixes or suffixes or words from other cultures that are commonly used in English (I'm sure you can find this information on the Internet).

Rhyming games and reading poems will help as will you reading to DS as well as him reading to you.

Spaghettinetti Wed 26-Feb-14 17:37:55

I seem to have missed a few words out in my above post...I hope it still makes sense... :-/

Crowler Wed 26-Feb-14 19:06:21

As said, reading & parental vocab. That's it.

xing Thu 27-Feb-14 10:50:22

Spaghettinetti , thanks, yes, it makes sense. My worry is that as I am a foreigner, I used simply vocabularies at home, I worry that this will hinder his learning of advanced vocabularies. So I would like to find a tool/website to help him. I do buy him a lot of books though.

AbbyR1973 Thu 27-Feb-14 11:00:57

I think you can't beat reading and reading in variety for improving vocabulary. DC reading to himself is great, but can you read to him? You can then tackle a book which is a bit beyond his current reading skills and this will introduce more advanced vocabulary, eg D1 might read himself beast quest or Harry potter, but he still gets a bedtime story from me- we have read all sorts, at the moment I'm reading him Prince Caspian. Also the differences between vocabulary in different sorts of writing eg fact books, magazines, children's newspapers eg first news.

TeacakeEater Thu 27-Feb-14 11:22:52

Would you enjoy talking about the news together?

First News as mentioned above is a newspaper aimed at primary aged children. Then as time goes on you might find a regular magazine about an interest good to share eg National Geographic or BBC History.

I noticed Schofield and Sim have a Vocabulary Workbook which might be useful.

Ferguson Thu 27-Feb-14 18:03:43

Hi - I was a primary Teaching Assistant for twenty years. Sometimes children from a non-English background can make BETTER progress because parents and child are prepared to put in more effort than an English child of similar age.

Yes, reading as widely as possible is the first thing. As someone said a THESAURUS is useful, but a book, not just on the computer. You can get children's versions, and it shows you lots of words that you can use instead of the simple word. So, suppose you have the word HOUSE: other words might be home, cottage, bungalow, flats, mansion, palace, dwelling, residence, abode, hut, shack, pad (slang word). etc. Depending on where the word is to be used, some words are suitable, others are not.

You can also get a children's 'Rhyming Dictionary', so you look at one word, and it shows you ones that rhyme with it; that might help you find words you wouldn't normally come across.

You can also get free on-line:

In the MN 'Book Reviews' section, under children's educational books and courses I did a review of a Phonics Spelling Dictionary, which will help a lot with English spelling (which can be difficult for some people.)

xing Fri 28-Feb-14 10:01:55

Ferguson, thanks for your reassurance! And thanks for the idea of THESAURUS. I also dug out two sets of Oxford Poems and Oxford Word and Phrases collections (brand new!). I bought them from a car book sale before my son was born, now they can come to life!

Ferguson Fri 28-Feb-14 18:59:08

Yes, well done! Charity shops and 'car boots' can produce all sorts of treasures sometimes!

I'm sure he will continue to do well, because helpful support at home can be very useful. But there are, unfortunately, some English families who do not, or possibly cannot, provide support, and think it is only the school's responsibility.

If ever you need specific help, feel free to 'message' me if you wish.

nonicknameseemsavailable Fri 28-Feb-14 21:15:47

my daughter loves her junior thesaurus - she finds it fascinating to see how other words can be used for the same thing. and poetry is another great suggestion too.

we are currently trying to introduce metaphors and idioms to my daughter as some concerns have been raised because she doesn't know them (they are worried about processing problems) so the suggestion from Speech and Language Therapists was to talk about a different one each day or week, you can look them up on the internet and talk about what it means, the origin of it and how it might be used. see if you can include it in a conversation, so it becomes like a game. there are some really ridiculous ones out there when you start looking at them - quite entertaining really.

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