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Party Tips & Activities

Discover a whole host of fancy and fabulous party tips and recipes, seasonal craft and activity ideas, and reading-readiness suggestions from the folks who bring you Fancy Nancy!

Word Up!

Watching your child build her vocabulary is more than just charming and fun—it’s also an important part of brain development, and a predictor of future success in school and in life. The number of words a person comprehends is related to the ability to think.

  • Children who acquire a healthy vocabulary are often able to learn more quickly and express themselves more effectively. They’re also likely to be successful at learning to read and acquiring the information they need to do better in school. Boosting your young one’s vocabulary can have a great effect on her future.
  • It’s not hard to build a good vocabulary. The two simplest methods to encourage a wide range of words: read and talk. Read aloud to your child every day and encourage reading as much as possible. Having reading materials in every room of the house, talk about what you’re reading and read together.
  • When you read together, put plenty of expression into your reading. When you come to a word she might not know, pay special attention to it. Ask her to guess from the context what it might mean. Use the pictures to help explain the word. But don’t stop to explain too many words—that might get in the way of a good story!
  • Have conversations with your child throughout the day. Think out loud about what you’re doing—even something as simple as buying groceries or reading street signs can be an important learning experience. Don’t hesitate to introduce new words into your conversation—in fact, it can even be a brain-building experience for you to try and think up new ways to express familiar concepts. Traffic could be “slow” or it could also be “snarled” or “congested.” A friend’s behavior might be “funny” or it could be “ridiculous” or “outrageous.” Use interesting and colorful words as part of your everyday conversation, and your child will pick up on their meanings.
  • Of course, if your little one asks for an explanation, give her one in terms she can understand, such as “Huge means really, really big, like an elephant.” Use the new word in several different contexts so she can see how it functions. Give her concrete examples and relate it to a world she understands. For example, “saturated” could describe her baby brother’s diaper, or the T-shirt she left out in the rain. Then ask her to come up with her own example for the word: What “huge” thing can she think of? Did she see anything “huge” today?
  • Make wordplay fun by talking about the different meanings a word can have. You might wear a “ring” on your finger, or hear the “ring” of the doorbell, or enjoy the clowns in the circus “ring.” You might even have to “wring” out that saturated T-shirt.
  • Keep the new words alive in your everyday activities—and always, always, keep it light. Building vocabulary should be enjoyable, pleasurable, agreeable, and pleasing—in other words, it should be fun!

Related book(s):

Fancy Nancy's Favorite Fancy WordsFancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire!Fancy Nancy: The Dazzling Book ReportFancy Nancy: Splendid Speller