Last week, I blogged 25 of the 100+ words that every child should be able to understand, use comfortably in conversation and incorporate into their core sense of who he is or will become. The words are meant to be stated in an “I can _____” statement by children aged 2 and up (Some early talkers will be able to use some of these words before the age of 2!). I love hearing a 2-1/2 year old say “I can assist you!” or a 3-year old say “I can gather all these books and then I can pretend to read them.”
Here is the next set of 25 “I can _____” words:
Parents, caregivers, and anyone who touches the lives of children should use these words daily in their own vocabulary since that is the way children learn vocabulary words. These words are no more difficult for a child to understand than other long words such as “Tyrannosaurus Rex” or than other advanced words such as “choice” or “feelings.” Children will learn the meaning of these words as they are used in an appropriate context by others around them. Once children truly understand them, then they can begin using them comfortably in their own conversations and when sharing their own ideas.
The more they use the words, the more the vocabulary becomes part of their core sense of self. Their language and vocabulary leads to what makes them who they are in many ways. For example, because a child can talk about trusting people, he learns to be trusting and to be trusted. Or, because a child can talk about teaching someone something he knows about, he comes to think of himself as a teacher. A final example from this week’s list of words is because a child can say “I predict that the boy in the story will find his lost dog,” he learns to make predictions (a core academic skill).
Our language creates us, just as do our feelings and our behaviors/actions. The words we know and use help us learn and get along with others in this world. They help us reach our goals and think about new goals. They help us succeed. Therefore, it is crucial to give every child the inexpensive gifts of new vocabulary and concepts every day.