10 Tips for Building Middle School Vocabulary
Building middle school vocabulary in our kids becomes increasingly important.
The SAT and ACT tests are looming large. Advanced writing for high school and college requires a larger vocabulary than young kids have.
So how do we increase our middle school kids’ vocabulary?
1. Read, Read, and Read
There is no better way to improve your child’s vocabulary than reading. Read historical fiction. Read sci-fi. Read science books, and art books. Encourage your child to read every age-appropriate book they can get their hands on.
Reading will increase your child’s working vocabulary faster than any other method.
2. Study Latin
While the majority of English words are of Germanic descent, the majority of difficult words derive from Latin. Latin forms the basis of scientific words. Latin is used in legal terms. Many of our daily terms derive from Latin.
Studying Latin won’t just impress the grandparents, it will increase your child’s vocabulary.
3. Study Greek
While the majority of difficult words derive from Latin, there is still a huge number that derives from Greek. Just take a look at psychology or gymnasium!
Making time in your school day to study Greek will help your child’s vocabulary dramatically.
4. Use a Dictionary
Encourage your child to look up any word he runs across that he doesn’t know. Make using a dictionary a habit that he’ll use well into adulthood. Encourage him to browse the dictionary while he’s at it.
The dictionary will introduce many words to your child.
5. Create Flash Cards
Create flashcards for all the words your child runs into. You don’t need to start with a huge stack. Begin with just 1-3 words that your kid ran into today. And add a few more every day.
Now the trick is to flip through the cards every single day.
Eventually, you’ll be surprised at how large your kid’s vocabulary is!
6. Play Memory
Play Memory with your kids by matching the word with the definition as you play. It’s an awesome way to expand your vocabulary, memorize the words, and have a bit of fun in the process.
7. Play Scrabble
Scrabble is another fun game to play when you’re looking to increase middle school vocabulary. Encourage the use of the dictionary or thesauruses to find words that work.
Just insist on the child defining any difficult word being used.
8. Study Words on the SAT
Make an effort to learn the vocabulary words on the SAT. Use a word list such as the SAT Word Lists and slowly work your way down the list.
Knowing as many of these words as possible will come in handy when your child is taking the college entrance exams.
9. Learn 1 New Word a Day
Pick a word from an SAT word list, a read aloud, or history assignment. As a family uses the word all day. Can someone use it at breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
What about in the middle of a game? Make it fun and see who can use the new word the most.
10. Use a Vocabulary Curriculum
There are many excellent vocabulary curricula for middle school kids. In fact, many spelling programs move from an emphasis on spelling to an emphasis on vocabulary during the 7th and 8th-grade years. Take advantage of this and use a good vocabulary curriculum to teach your middle school kid vocabulary.
There are various methods of teaching middle school vocabulary, so choose the method that attracts you the most. Learning one new word a day or using a formal curriculum will both get you to the same place… a child with a large vocabulary.