An extensive vocabulary is the key to a childs success in listening and reading as well as speaking and writing. Children learn new words rapidly and effortlessly, so lets look at ways to expand their receptive vocabulary, the vocabulary acquired from listening and reading. Start with a very simple, but very effective, activity: TALKING to your children. Youre going to think, Oh, this is silly, but its not. Talking increases and enhances a childs vocabulary file, especially if you dont dumb down your language because youre talking to a child. Talk as you would to an adult. If your children need clarification, theyll ask! Even if they dont ask, youve deposited another word or expression in their brains file folder, ready for use when needed in listening or reading. Talk, as an activity, has many advantages. You dont need to schedule time to talk; you dont need a special place to talk; you dont need to gather any materials for this activity. Just talkwhile youre cooking, driving, giving baths, doing laundry, walking from the car to the storeanytime! Say things like: Grandpa is a veteran. He fought in the Vietnam War. Now youve given your child veteran and even its meaning. Share your childhood events; recite nursery rhymes; sing songs you sang as a child; talk about your career; discuss the weather. And if your conversation doesnt happen to include any new words, you are still reinforcing known or everyday words. The more your children hear a word, the more familiar it will be, the more likely it will be launched into their expressive vocabulary, and the more apt they will be to use it to communicate in speaking and writing. They say talk is cheap but in this case talk will raise your children to a higher level of thinking and doing!