Lazy days of summer are perfect for spreading out a blanket in the shade and sharing some books with your baby. Picture books – even those written for very young children – are perfect for building your little one’s vocabulary, which in turn expands their entire world view. You might not use the word gigantic in everyday speech – but it’s in that story you just read about a dragon! Your little ones are hearing words from books that they won’t hear anyplace else at this age.
The great thing about reading big words in stories is that the understanding comes organically, over time, rather than trying to explain a word or concept to a baby. Once young children hear a word in context, they can use pictures and their understanding of the other words to construct an idea about what that word means or stands for. This is one reason that repeated readings of the same book are so beneficial to your baby’s brain growth.
Sorry, Dad! Looks like it’s Chicka Chicka Boom Boom again tonight!
School age hint: Picture books are made for toddlers & preschoolers – but they’re not written at a preschool level! Let your growing reader read picture books too! They’ll be getting fluency practice by repeating the words they already do know – and building their vocabulary (and reading skills!) by testing out these words they might not already know.
This article at Children’s Book Academy provides a brief, interesting read on the richness of vocabulary in children’s books.