Notes from Story Time Category: Vocabulary

Let’s Play Make-Believe

princess-super-kittyWho likes to play pretend? One benefit of playing make-believe at home (besides being so fun) is that it encourages vocabulary and narrative skills, which are important pre-reading skills. The cool characters and settings that we see in picture books like Princess Super Kitty by Antoinette Porter by can inspire new ideas for playtime.


Cows in the Kitchen, Oh My!

cowsRepetition helps children remember words and increase their vocabulary. This is an important pre-reading skill. The catchy repetitive phrases in Cows in the Kitchen by June Crebbin make reading aloud this title a fun way to increase your child’s vocabulary.

Let’s Talk About Camping

campingWhen you add new words and information as you talk to children, you are developing their vocabulary and background knowledge. Reading picture and nonfiction books is a great way to introduce new or unfamiliar words.

–Tip by Dana Folkerts, Assistant Head of Youth Services

Getting a Little Messy

mudMost children enjoy playing with dirt, sand, mud, water, and other materials with different textures, sounds, and smells. Such play develops the senses.  Ask your child questions about what he or she is doing?  How does it feel?  What does she smell?  What sounds can he make?  This will improve your child’s narrative and vocabulary skills.

–Tip by Keary Bramwell, Youth Collection Librarian

Singalong Stories

monstersSinging helps children learn to follow directions. It is also a good way to learn new vocabulary because singing slows down the words, which makes them easier for your child to understand.  Try singing along to this fun, monster themed story If You’re a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca Emberley.

–Tip by Mary Smith, Head of Youth Services


Nonfiction Fun

Alligator or Crocodile?Nonfiction (or true) books are a great way to introduce unfamiliar words to children, thus increasing their vocabulary. These books often use different words than picture books. There are nonfiction books on hundreds of topics and at varying reading levels, so let your child choose a few that interest her and will keep her excited about books. Even just looking at the pictures and talking about what you see will benefit your child’s growing vocabulary. Ask a Youth staff member to help find nonfiction books the next time you’re at the Library!
–Tip by Dana F., Youth Services Assistant Department Head

Learning New Words

Quick as a CricketYou can use books to help expand your child’s vocabulary. Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood has many descriptive words that your child may not have heard before. You can help your child understand the meaning by looking at the pictures as well as the word’s opposite. You don’t need to stop to explain all of the words, but you may discuss a few of them as you read by giving examples of similar words or studying the pictures for clues about the word’s meaning.

–Tip by Erin E., Youth Programming Coordinator

Dragon’s Extraordinary Egg by Debi Gliori

Dragon's Extraordinary EggOne way to build vocabulary is to introduce new words prior to reading a book with those words. It can be as simple as saying the word and explaining what it means before opening the book. This is a great way to increase your child’s vocabulary since children are more likely to remember certain words if they are used, heard, and spoken more than once. Before reading this book, talk about the title and what the word “extraordinary” means.

–Tip by Amy S., Youth Programming Assistant

What’s Happening in the Pictures?

Mama's Little BearsWhen you read Mama’s Little Bears by Nancy Tafuri, don’t just read the words but also talk about the pictures. Describe what is going on and leave time for your child to say something back. This interaction sets the stage for increased vocabulary and will help your child when it is time to read.

–Tip by Barb M., Youth Programming and Outreach Assistant