Giving the gift of vocabulary to a child through conversation, play, shared reading and daily activities helps him or her succeed in school. The words on the following list are not only meant to be understood and to be used (e.g., in conversation, when telling a story, etc.) by a child, but they are also meant to be part of his or her core being and understanding about himself or herself. That is, the child should be able to use the words in an “I can _____” statement (e.g., I can wonder, I can teach, I can describe, etc.) and truly believe what he or she says.
Part one consists of the first 25 on the list that I compiled several years ago. I painted the words on the wall of our powder room in our previous house. The words were listed under the heading “I can…” and the list is meant to be read with this phrase preceding each individual word. Some words require more words to follow (e.g., I can do…anything I put my mind to.) in order for them to be used in a correct way, but most can stand alone on their own.
If the adults around a child uses these vocabulary words frequently, the child will come to “own” them as easily as they own words such as “jump” and “run.”