How to Improve Your Vocabulary

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Show your child how to use a Dictionary app while reading – it makes learning those new words STICKY. In other words, it’s a great way to improve your vocabulary.

In our mother-daughter book club, we just finished Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. Because the book had such amazing words, both Jemma and I started looking up words voraciously.

Reading on the Kindle, both my kids and I LOVE looking up words. It’s so easy to just highlight and get the definition.

BUT, what’s been missing was . . . remembering those words for later.

Do you have that problem, too? Do you see that with your kids?

how to learn new words while reading

How to Improve Your Vocabulary

If you come to a word you don’t know, especially if it occurs more than once, LOOK IT UP!

We use the Merriam-Webster Dictionary App which is free. You can pay to not have the (annoying) ads though.

How to Improve Your Vocabulary

How could I not know this awesome word, malfeasance? I didn’t! Neither did my daughter. So it helped to click on the sound button so we could hear the correct pronunciation. SO helpful!

How to Improve Your Vocabulary

Once you look up a word, you can save it in favorites. I LOVE this feature because I can go back to review the new words I’ve learned. Like malfeasance. 🙂

How to Improve Your Vocabulary

So can my daughter who uses the dictionary app on her iPad. Then we can keep our favorite word lists separate.

Also, to reinforce these new words, we wrote them down on an extra white board that we have propped against our non-functional fireplace.

Show your child how to use a Dictionary app while reading - it makes learning those new words STICKY. In other words, it's a great way to improve your vocabulary.

So, When Should You Look Up Words?

Okay, it can totally disrupt the flow of your comprehension if you’re always stopping and looking up words. Help your kids know when you should stop to look up a word. Here are my guidelines.

Look up a word when the word is . . .

–> so incredible that you must know what it means
–> used more than once
–> when not knowing the word interferes with your comprehension
–> reading to yourself and outloud reading with a child at bedtime

Want more ideas for learning vocabulary? Here are 15 more ideas for learning new words.

You might want to start a word collection jar – those are lots of fun!

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