Last week, I blogged 25 more 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 “Look, I can multiply my pieces of play dough!” or a 3-year old say “I can forgive.”
Here is the next set of 25 “I can _____” words:
Parents, caregivers, and anyone who touches the lives of children should use these words as much as possible 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. Once a child uses a word 5-7 times spontaneously in conversation, they actually “own” the word, or is part of their long-term vocabulary storage.
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 dividing things into groups, he can learn to be a better “sharer” as he divides up treats amongst friends. Or, because a child can talk about listening, he will be the very nature of the word, be a better “listener.” A final example from this week’s list of words is when a child knows that he can “love,” he will be a more loving individual.
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.