Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

How children learn new words:

Children learn at a different pace and in different ways, but keep teaching them new words to help expand their vocabulary.
By Kylie Johnston
Date: March 28 2013
Editor Rating:

Learning words and language is innate, which is why one of the best ways to learn a second or even third language is to do so as a child.

The important thing to realise is that every child will learn at a different rate, not only from their peers but compared with their siblings. I see this all the time with children even as they get older - in the classroom, on the playground and even at home amongst my own.

Some children also learn in spurts. One day they're silent; the next day they know a few more words; and then they acquire more and more. Their first words - other than a name for the parents - are usually about objects they use in every day life, eg. 'ball', 'book'.

But even if your toddler is slower to communicate, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be teaching him or her new words because they will still absorb what you are teaching them. So here are five ways to reinforce language and word learning in your youngster.

1.  Repetition: This is one of the most basic learning techniques! Children need multiple exposures to a sound or word to fully develop the concept. Start with repeating syllables and soon, those syllables will expand into words and then phrases. Younger children (particularly 4 to 18 months) benefit from repetition as learning the most.

2.  Gestures: Gestures can be used as a bridge to verbal communication, and pave the way to learning speech. When your child is able to use gestures or basic signs to convey a message, or request, speaking typically follows more rapidly. Parents can use gestures such as pointing, waving, or signs to reinforce some basic words such as ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

3.  Expanding Sentences:  As your toddler begins to use meaningful sounds and words to comment or request, expanding on their single words is a great way to teach grammar and new vocabulary. Using short phrases (such as ‘eat biscuit’, ‘drink milk’) can help your child distinguish basic grammar for language learning.

4.  Pictures:  Some of us are visual learners, and the same is true for kids! You can use pictures of family members or picture books to reinforce names and vocabulary. Pointing and naming pictures can teach children that words have meaning. Pictures can help a child understand a different part of the world and teach them novel words and concepts that they might not be exposed to otherwise. Pair repetition and sentence expansion with pictures for best results!

5.  Exaggeration: exaggeration works when learning new words, because we have an emotional connection to pay attention to exaggerated events. Exaggerating facial expression (eg. happy, sad, surprised, tired) and using exaggerated adjectives (eg. fast/slow, big/little) in play can help a child distinguish basic concepts for  better word learning. 

Share This Tweet This Email To Friend
Recent Comments
1 Total Comments
Concrete Resurfacing says: 2020 05 04

I surmise this is a genuinely clear article. you are making this information empowering and delightful. You give perusers a lot to consider and that I respect that sort of creating. <a >Concrete Resurfacing</a>

View All Comments
Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:33343

Your Comment has been posted
Related Articles
Best selling children's author says it takes only 10 minutes…
Read more
Our teacher-in-residence gives her six tips for preparing for the…
Read more
Cry babies

Dry your eyes!
The newest additions are on their way from the Babies who cry real tears!


Latest Tech Used In Shipping Containers
Read how the shipping industry has revolutionised

Motherpedia cover-2

Win 1 set of a 4-book hardcover illustrated boxed set
Barbara Murray’s new 4-book Sound Stories is perfect for parents and educators and could assist with NAPLAN results

Motherpedia cover (4)

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest Australia
Get ready for this celebration!

Motherpedia cover-4

A Fortnight of Foodie Experiences at East Village
A taste of East Village. What's in it for me?

Globber my too fix up cover

We Try: Globber My TOO Fix Up
A scooter that grows with your child

Throw a winning cricket pitch

3 Steps to a Winning Backyard Cricket Pitch
Ex-Adelaide Oval legend curator Les Burdett shares his tips for getting your backyard cricket pitch test match ready this summer

A bike that follows your kids life cycle - motherpedia - cover

A Bike That Follows Your Kids Life Cycle
Check out the Bunzi 2-in-1 gradual balance bike!

Moonlight lifestyle

Moonlight Cinema to bring…
Moonlight Cinema announces brand new Western Sydney venue

Screen shot 2019-11-26 at 8.29.12 am

Your Magical Christmas Wonderland…
Adventure park is about to light up the night sky with its "Christmas Festival of Lights"

Screen shot 2019-11-21 at 11.11.36 am

The Preston Market Gets…
It's time to feel pumped up for the holiday season!


Bunnings team members get…
Help raise funds by buying a snag or donating at your local store.