Utilizing Context – help your student use the context in which the word is introduced to solve for the meaning of the word. Did the word come up in a reading you are doing together? Use the surrounding words and sentences—or context—to help your student understand what the word means. Did the word come up in a conversation or lecture? Discuss the context of that conversation or lecture with your student, focusing on aspects such as what was being discussed, the point the speaker was trying to make and the tone in which the word was said.
Ultimately, relating the word to the context in which it was used will allow your student to connect the word to a bigger picture, making it more likely that she will retain the meaning of the word.
Synonyms & Antonyms – a great way to help your student understand a new word is to provide your student with synonyms (mean the same thing) and antonyms (mean the opposite). Indeed, as your child’s vocabulary grows, many of the new words they learn can be related to another word that means the same thing, or the opposite. For example, the word “enormous” might be related to the words big, huge, large or gigantic. Conversely, you might provide the words small, little, teeny, tiny, minute as antonyms.
Much like using context to solve for meaning, providing synonyms and antonyms will help your child relate a new vocabulary word to easier, more manageable words.