Children who know and use more words when they are very young learn to read more easily and have greater academic success than those who don’t. Get Ready with Words was designed to set children up for lifelong literacy through vocabulary enrichment. With generous funding from a PNC Foundation Grow Up Great grant, this three-year initiative was delivered at two community centers and online in a collaboration between Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Community School of the Arts and Discovery Place. The program ran from September, 2014 through August, 2017.
Strategies to Build Vocabulary
- Repetition is fundamental. Use the same words in different activities.
- Context helps children connect words to make meaning. Introduce new words through stories, songs, science, art and active exploration so children experience words in many ways.
- Knowledge networks organize words into categories, to help children’s recognition and overall comprehension. By clustering new words in familiar groups, children make connections to what they already know.
- Words of the week are introduced simply and explored through activities. The combination of explicit and implicit instruction reinforces learning.
Get Ready in Two Languages
Activities are presented in English and Spanish, so children develop new concepts in a context familiar to both children and caregivers. We encourage caregivers to use their home language for literacy skills, because concepts learned in a child’s native language are transferred as they learn English. All the activities Get Ready with Words instructors used can be easily replicated at home, and we are pleased to continue to make them available.