A good writer can take you places.  In one single paragraph, you can be transported to the middle of the Oval Office, into the depths of the rainforest, or in the doorway of the most haunted house in the world.  You are under the complete control of the author, who wills you with his or her words to come along on the adventure.

Words are powerful.  And using them effectively is the key to good writing.  So if one of your goals for your child is to see them improve their writing skills, you will definitely want to start by helping them build their vocabulary.

This can be accomplished in several ways.  The most important of these is to making sure they read, read, read.  By reading widely, and from all types of literature – – non-fiction, fiction, newspapers, magazines, the web – -they are exposing themselves to an incredible variety of words.

However, reading is just the first step.  Your child also needs to take the time to investigate the unfamiliar words they come across. They should keep a dictionary and thesaurus close by as they read.  I bought my son a bookmark that has a dictionary built into it, so that he has easy access to word meanings.

Another important way to boost your child’s vocabulary power is by encouraging them to play word games.Words don’t have to be dull and dry.  Word games remind us that building our vocabulary can be fun!  Games like Hangman, Scrabble, and Balderdash have iconic places in our culture because they bring us a sense of challenge and excitement.

Finally, to increase your child’s expressive vocabulary, you will want to get them writing.  Buy them a journal, surprise them with a cool storywriting software gift, or sign them up for one of the courses at Time4Writing. There is no better way to improve your word skills than by putting them to use!