How To Increase Your Child’s Vocabulary Using Books

Time and time again, studies have shown that having a large vocabulary is the most significant predictor of success when a child starts school, the more a child understands, the more he or she will be able to learn. 

One of the most potent ways to increase your child’s vocabulary is through books, and today we are explaining exactly how books provide those endless opportunities.  

By merely reading one small book, you are exposing your child to new words. 

Enjoy quality time

The recent pandemic lockdown reminded us all how precious time is and how important it is choosing how we spend it. Keep practising one-on-one time and bond with your child and read aloud together, even if it’s just one book a day. By merely reading one small book, you are exposing your child to new words and improving their vocabulary.

Repeat the same story

Developing a preference for a familiar book and reading it back to front, day in day out is actually quite common for young children and while it might be boring for you, it’s helping them learn. Recent reports have proven repetition of the same book allows them to become familiar with words, assisting children in memorising them, in turn, increasing their number of vocabulary. 


Having language skills is more than just having lots of words; children need to hear and understand the sounds. Rhyming is an excellent way to focus your attention on different sound patterns and combining sounds. For example, the words cat, hat and rat all sound similar because they end in the word at, a sound pattern. The more they hear rhyming patterns, they will begin to understand and see more like bat, mat and sat. 

Ask your child to explain words

When doing storytime with your child, define any new words you come across as you are reading them. It can help increase their ability to understand vocabulary, allowing them to use it at a future date. It is also important to use adjectives to describe colours and shapes, use verbs to talk about the characters and help them learn by answering and questions they may have. 

Actions speak louder than words

A great tool to help boost your child’s vocabulary is using motions and gestures. By simply patting your tummy while reading the word yummy can help your child understand what the words mean. Be enthusiastic and adjust your pace to suit the story. For example, if you are reading a suspenseful part, slow down, lower your voice and draw your words out. It keeps them fully engaged and will help them match expression and feeling with their words. 

Less is more

You do not have to spend a small fortune trying to create a Pinterest worthy library in your home. As mentioned above, reading the same book over and over again has enormous benefits. However, do a little detective work and figure out what your child likes about the books you read. Is it the silliness? The general topic? The rhyming? The illustrations? By choosing the right books, your child will be more engaged and willing to learn. 


Kellie Kearney

Kellie Kearney is a Dublin mammy of five kids aged newborn right up to nine. She loves coffee, cloth nappies, travel and sharing her every day true to life family moments on Instagram.

Read more by Kellie
{{ post.excerpt }}
{{ post.content.formatted }}

What is Family Friendly HQ?

Family Friendly HQ is Ireland’s trusted parenting community, dedicated to mums and dads, and families of all shapes and sizes.

Read more about us