Teaching Reading to Children Is About Vocabulary

Teaching reading to children is all about vocabulary because teaching a child to read is about teaching words. As a parent, teaching your child to read is one of the most important things you can do. And it all begins with words.

Wherever children are and whatever they are doing, they need to be learning words. The critical nature of building vocabularies should be at the forefront of our efforts to rear and educate children. All those who teach, care for, and spend time with children must become involved.

Word walls at home are a great way to help children learn to read.

Vocabulary building must become a priority among parents and teachers in day care centers, day camps, summer camps, and in both public and private schools. Why?

Our prisons are filled with people – males especially – who cannot read. You can rail away at the system and debate the issue of education for days, but legislators are not going to be the ones who make a difference. We are. Those of us who spend time with children – parents and family members included - must agree on the vital importance of vocabulary building and be willing to step up to the plate to do something about it. Forget textbook companies. Forget the politics of it all. We must get an adequate vocabulary to every child.

Though the effort needs to be a joint one, teachers must play a leading role in getting words to children. At every grade level and in every subject, teachers should be teaching vocabulary to students.

Vocabulary Size and Success in School

Study after study points to the fact that the size of a child’s vocabulary is a predictor of future success in school. Most experts agree that they need to be learning about 1000 words each year in order to graduate from high school and go to college.

That's a lot of words! And we must all assume the role of Vocabulary Builder to help get those words to children.

The most efficient way to deliver words to children is with Word Walls - and they are not just for classrooms, either! As a mother and now a grandmother (yes - my grandchild is wonderful and pretty close to being perfect!!) I put words up all around the house for learning sight words.

The key to success with word walls in any setting is daily use using sight word games.

Want to give standardized test scores a boost? Create a word wall for testing vocabulary and practice for several weeks before testing begins.

Go to Word Walls From Teaching Reading to Children
Go to Parents As Teachers From Teaching Reading to Children

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Vocabulary Builders Unite!


Parents can begin building vocabulary from the moment of birth by talking to and later with children. The more words they hear, the more they will learn, and an environment rich with words and language provides the foundation for all future learning. Its importance cannot be overemphasized.

The Three C's of the Home Classroom are good places for building language by having conversations and interrogative exchanges with children daily.

Early Care Providers

Those who care for children already know the importance of reading stories to children, and their work is invaluable in preparing children for school. They know that Early Childhood Cognitive Development depends on language and that language depends on the number of words to which children have been exposed.


Every teacher, in every subject, at every level is teaching vocabulary to students. In my experience, deliberate, systematic vocabulary instruction and ongoing review is easiest with word walls because the words are easily accessible and visible in the classroom. Time spent daily with the words can be fun using sight word games and activities.