- Sarah Gough
What do Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Whoopi Goldberg, Pablo Picasso, Muhammad Ali, George Washington, Richard Branson and Cher all have in common? Dyslexia.
- Leslie Tetreault
What are rare words, where can you find them, and why do they matter?
Rare words are those beyond the 10,000 words known as our Common Lexicon used in most daily conversation with each other.
You can find a great many rare words in children’s books. Children’s books have 30 rare words per thousand, while conversations between an adult and 3-year-old child typically include 9 rare words per thousand (JimTrelease: The Read-Aloud Handbook.)
Quality children’s picture books are filled with rare words. Consider Byron Barton’s I Want to Be an Astronaut, a picture book for toddlers and preschoolers. It includes words like shuttle, mission, and gravity. These are words you might not use in everyday conversation with your young child. When you read this book aloud, you introduce him to these words, and they become part of his growing vocabulary.
Why is this important? Studies show that a child’s vocabulary upon entering school is the number one indicator of whether he will be a good reader. Trelease reminds us that by the time a child is 5-years-old, he will know 90% of the words he will use for the rest of his life. The eventual strength of your child’s vocabulary depends on how many of these rare words he knows. And the child who has heard thousands of picture books before he reaches school will have a larger vocabulary than the child that experiences very few books during his early years.
There are thousands of vocabulary-rich books for young children. Check out the below sampling, but know it is the tip of an enormous iceberg. Visit the library often, attend storytime, and let us help your child develop a rich vocabulary through picture books.
- Laura Kennett
One of my favorite books to read during this time of year is Ruth Krauss’s The Carrot Seed, about a little boy who plants a seed and everyone around him says, “It won’t come up.” Ah, but it does come up and then some. Some days it feels like our children “won’t come up”, but with some daily reading they are sure to “come up!” Children that are read to twenty minutes a day build early literacy skills, improve their listening and are prepared for kindergarten. Share some of these Spring stories and activities with the growing readers in your life!
- Laura Kennett
How many nursery rhymes do you know? Can you think of 8 of them? If a child knows 8 nursery rhymes by heart by the time he is 4, he will likely be among the best readers by the time he’s 8. Let imaginations run away with the dish and the spoon by singing, saying and reading the rhymes you love, and unearth some new favorites to share.
- Ashley Warthen
Did you know that scribbling is a very important part of literacy development in toddlers? When young children are given crayons, paints, play-dough and the freedom to explore their creativity, they are learning about artistic expression and working on their fine motor skills. More importantly, however, they are learning how to tell a story, and taking the first steps to learning to read. Those scribbles will eventually turn into letters, words, and will contribute to the early reading skills required for a child to develop a healthy appetite for learning.
- Laura Kennett
You may not come from a land of ice and snow, but you can go there through books. The stories below illustrate those worlds with words such as: flakes, powdery, heaping, crystalline, radiant, glistening, and even the dreaded infirm. Beautiful language helps define a world. The world of picture books is defined by rare words (words heard outside of regular conversation). And, the amount of words children hear before the age of five defines 90% of their vocabulary for the rest of their lives. Leave word poverty and low literacy rates out in the cold by reading aloud to children everyday.