Vocabulary Matters

On the birthday of Noah Webster, a quick post about how much vocabulary matters, how reading to your child today is just as important as giving him three healthy meals before the night falls, and how to download a free book by New York Times best-selling author and marketing guru Seth Godin.

The single most important indicator of future success is a student’s vocabulary. How to develop it? Read a ton of books on a variety of subjects. It’s that simple. Your library card just became your most valuable possession… Homeschooling does not have to be expensive or stressful. Take a trip to your local library, pick up a handful of books your child likes and another handful of what you think he should read. Sometimes the two lists are not the same. 

Don’t compromise on principles, of course. Don’t allow your child to read books you would not want him to read because of your family’s philosophy or religion. But there is also a gray area of “twaddle” – a Charlotte Mason word describing books that will not do much for your child, silly books, that will never become classics. When it comes to twaddle, my approach is relaxed. At least, they are reading. They hold a book in their hands. They are not getting into trouble and they are not watching a screen or playing a video game. Reduce the twaddle, minimize it. Over time, your child’s taste will improve if you keep providing him with solid reading matter.

Socioeconomic status also influences how much vocabulary a child hears on any given day. If you can expose children to more vocabulary, you help them get out of poverty. Reading is our only hope, to quote a poster I saw yesterday at the Pigeon Forge Library during a presentation by Mr. Lincoln.


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