Did your child find the word "bread" simple and "spaghetti" difficult? Was "elephant" a struggle to learn while "dog" was easy? No, even though they have longer syllables than each other, we consider both of them "easy" because we've been familiar with them since we were small. Your child can be familiar with whatever words he hears from your, with ease.
I still remember one time when my little brother was about two, a guest at our house thought it was absolutely amazing that he used the word "annoying". I couldn't figure out why she thought that was so unusual because we used that word all the time at our house! He had simply learned it by hearing it used around the house, and we all thought it was a pretty common and easy word, but to this guest, little kids are supposed to say "he's bugging me" so "annoying" was considered advanced! It's really all a matter of perspective and, more importantly, environment.
I remember one time reading that a frequent mark of "gifted" children is that they tend to have large vocabularies. It really made me think, "Who gave them that 'gift' of a large vocabulary?" Most people believe that being gifted is the result of a good set of genes, but we get 100% of our vocabulary from our environment, not from our genes.
Children between the ages of two and six are learning anywhere from ten to twenty new words per day! That is absolutely incredible, considering that no one is teaching them these things. They learn them all simply by hearing them in their environment.
The words that are in your child's environment are completely dependent upon you. I try to use a variety of words with Hunter rather than sticking to words that we consider "easy". When Hunter needs help he often tells me, "I need your assistance please." The other day he was talking about "an enormous rat". Speaking to your children in sophisticated language will take them very far. Reading good books with an intelligent vocabulary is a great way to build their bank of words. And one thing I just recently added to our daily fun is a word of the day, to teach him interesting words but also to teach me!
Dictionary.com has a free email service called word of the day and they will send you an interesting word with its definition and examples of usage. They have a past archive of words of the day since 1999. Instead of using the current words of the day, I decided to use the words from a year ago so I can make my materials ahead. I'm just going to make flashcards with the word on one side and the definition and usage on the other side. There are some pretty interesting words in there, most of them I've never even heard before! Each morning we'll introduce the word of the day and try to use that word in our conversation throughout the day. It sure is going to be a fun way to play with words and build both of our vocabularies. Here are the words of the day for November - click on the links to see the full definition. Enjoy!
- forcible: effected by force used against resistance; also, powerful.
- myrmidon: a loyal follower.
- politic: political; also, shrewdly tactful.
- sciolism: superficial knowledge.
- woolgathering: indulgence in idle daydreaming.
- bete noire: something or someone particularly detested or avoided.
- fealty: fidelity; allegiance; faithfulness.
- ameliorate: to make or grow better.
- polyglot: speaking or containing many languages.
- deleterious: harmful.
- mercurial: changeable; temperamental; volatile.
- gesticulate: to make gestures or motions.
- perfervid: ardent; impassioned.
- flaneur: one who strolls about aimlessly; a lounger; a loafer.
- hector: to bully or harass.
- aggrandize: to make or make appear great or greater.
- restive: resisting control; stubborn.
- comport: to behave (oneself) in a particular manner.
- flout: to treat with contempt and disregard.
- extirpate: to eradicate; to destroy.
- wiseacre: a smart aleck.
- deipnosophist: one skilled in table talk.
- postprandial: happening or done after a meal.
- somniferous: causing or inducing sleep.
- recumbent: reclining; lying down.
- foundling: a deserted or abandoned child.
- kvetch: to complain habitually.
- incongruous: lacking in harmony.
- hirsute: covered with hair or bristles.
- malapropos: unseasonable or unseasonably; inappropriate or inappropriately.
"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him."
Hunter is 3 years, 7 months old