Building your Child's Vocabulary for 11 Plus Preparation

The vocabulary level required for the GL Exam is very high and is a core concept within the English paper. Building your child’s vocabulary can be done in various ways.

The most effective way is to ensure that your child is well-read. At this stage your child should be reading a diverse range of books by various authors. If your child only enjoys reading a certain type of fiction, begin by encouraging them to read books on the same topic by different authors so that they are exposed to a different type of writing or vocabulary. As they are reading, have them underline or pick out unfamiliar words and make a list of them – try to use these in context whenever possible.

An easy way to improve your child’s vocabulary is not to oversimplify or water-down the language you use when speaking to you child. Children have a bigger receptive vocabulary than expressive vocabulary and are able to understand a lot more than we give them credit for. As a parent, you play a major role in the vocabulary your child will be able to understand.

A fun way to increase the breadth of your child’s vocabulary is to play with them. Games such a scrabble, bananagrams etc are a great way to learn new words. Have a dictionary/thesaurus nearby to enhance the learning. A game you can play easily with them is Create a Word. Player 1 begins with a letter e.g. C, Player 2 adds to the letter e.g. A, Player 1 adds to that e.g M and so on until the word can no longer continue (e.g. CAMERAMAN). The last person to add a letter loses.

Put new words up on the fridge or in your child’s bedroom. Seeing recently learned words will reinforce them visually, reminding your child on a daily basis.

Increasing breadth of vocabulary is not an easy task but by following the above guidelines, your child should succeed in increasing their vocabulary, bringing them one step closer to 11 Plus success.

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