Aug 012013

Daily Interactive Vocabulary Games make learning vocabulary words FUN!

Learning vocabulary comes pretty easily to most kids if you’re not going to formally drill words. The best way to learn vocabulary words is to use words in-context. If your child hears a word and asks, “What does that mean?” and you explain the meaning at that moment, that is a teachable moment. Using those natural opportunities to explain words is what works best for building a child’s vocabulary.

Did you know that kids’ level of vocabulary raises to the level of vocabulary that surrounds the child? Feel free to use BIG vocabulary words around your child. It will give you more teachable moments!

Another FUN way to build your child’s vocabulary is by playing vocabulary games based upon the meanings of words. Playing games can really help build your child’s vocabulary if you include word-learning along with the vocabulary games.

One of our most favorite games which includes a lot of potential vocabulary words is “Apples to Apples.” It isn’t a vocabulary game exactly, but if you let your child look up the words or you explain the words, then those become teachable moments where your child learns the vocabulary words’ meanings naturally.

The vocabulary games, or word-based games, that kids like include Upwords (pictured above) and Scrabblevocabulary games. You can turn ALL word-based games into vocabulary games by teaching kids the meanings of words as you play.

Vocabulary Games and Word Games Online

Word of the Day

Match Up

Match each word in the left column with its synonym on the right. When finished, click Answer to see the results. Good luck!



Words Within Words

Jul 122013

Looking for Language Arts Curriculum Homeschool Options for YOUR Learning Abled Kid?

Whether your child has dyslexia, dysgraphia, attention deficit disorder, or any other learning disability, studying reading, writing, grammar and spelling are often a struggle. Finding the RIGHT language arts homeschool curriculum is important for your child’s learning progress.

Over the years, there have been a number of language arts curriculum homeschool programs that parents of Learning Abled Kids repeatedly recommend. To help you out, I’ve created pages for each language arts skill area with listings of the programs other parents recommend. I figure our odds of picking the “right” program for our kids will be higher if we chose language arts curriculum other parents have used successfully.

Language Arts Curriculum Homeschool Options for Reading

Reading is one of the most critical academic skills for your child to master. Whether your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia or not, using proven reading programs can help your child learn to read. This reading page link will take you to a page that has multiple pages where reading programs are specifically listed. If you want to jump to the most comprehensive list of programs, visit the Orton Gillingham Reading Program for Dyslexia – 14 Choices page first.

Language Arts Curriculum Homeschool Options for Writing

Next to learning to read, learning how to communicate through writing is a critical life skill for your child. The title link above will take you to a page listing all of the writing-related pages. If you’d like to jump to the comprehensive list of writing programs first, visit the page.

Language Arts Curriculum Homeschool

Language Arts Curriculum Homeschool Options for Handwriting

You may also want to go to our handwriting page directly through the title link above. Handwriting and written expression are two different language arts curriculum needs you’ll have. If handwriting is a major issue, then you may also want to consider teaching your child keyboarding.

Language Arts Curriculum Homeschool Options for Spelling

Spelling is a task of great difficulty for children with dyslexia or executive functioning disorder. The specific, sequential nature of spelling makes it a skill that must be taught with specific, sequential instruction using Orton-Gillingham methods. Programs recommended are known to work for children with various learning difficulties.

Language Arts Curriculum Homeschool Options for Grammar

Proper word usage, punctuation, and proper sentence structure are elements of writing which can give a child with disabilities fits! Given the right program, a child can learn to properly format his sentences.

Language Arts Curriculum Homeschool Options for Vocabulary

Building a child’s vocabulary can be accomplished through traditional vocabulary programs or through the teaching of word roots. By learning Greek and Latin roots, a child can gain a broader understanding of language meanings. Although the initial teachings may be more difficult, there are many great “Roots” programs. There are also a large number of good traditional vocabulary programs. Which ever you choose, if it meets the needs of YOUR child, it is a GOOD program!

To make learning language arts easier for your child, you may also want to use Assistive Technology for Reading and Writing.

Jul 122013

Does your child have a big vocabulary?  Did you know having a good vocabulary is shown by research to be a critical skill for enabling a child to read?

The National Reading Panel has concluded that Vocabulary is one of the critical elements in a child’s ability to read. Having a robust vocabulary will improve a child’s reading decoding skills, reading comprehension level, and his ability to read fluently. Helping a child increase the size of his usable vocabulary cannot be underestimated in its ability to improve a child’s reading level.

The words your child knows and can use in order to communicate or read are defined as his vocabulary. By increasing the size of your child’s vocabulary, you can effectively increase the level at which your child is capable of reading, writing, and speaking.

The NRP says “Children learn the meanings of most words indirectly, through everyday experiences with oral and written language.” Children learn the words through everyday conversation with peers, adults, through shows they watch, and through listening to books that are read aloud.

Therefore, one of the easiest ways to increase your child’s vocabulary is to read aloud to him on a daily basis. You can also use new, unfamiliar words in conversations with your child. Children learn new words best when the words are used in context, so using new words appropriately and purposefully in conversation will help convey meaning, pronunciation, and will expand your child’s vocabulary.

“Specific word instruction, or teaching individual words, can deepen students’ knowledge of word meanings. In-depth knowledge of word meanings can help students understand what they are hearing or reading. It also can help them use words accurately in speaking and writing.” With this, the NRP conveys the importance of specifically teaching vocabulary in addition to building vocabulary through everyday activities.

To explicitly teach vocabulary, it is helpful to teach a child specific skills related to determining the meaning of a word. Necessary skills include familiarity with reference books (dictionaries, thesaurus’) and learning how to break words into parts and determine the meanings of the pieces (prefixes, roots, and suffixes). Repeated, purposeful exposure to new words will help a child gain familiarity with the word and will help him incorporate the word into his everyday vocabulary for speaking and writing.

You can explicitly help your child build his vocabulary through word studies, word games, and using vocabulary words related to new areas of study. You can help build vocabulary through a daily visit to our vocabulary fun page too.

A great software based program for building vocabulary is the Wordsmart Vocabulary Software. We have several of our home schooling friends with learning difficulties that particularly like this program. This fun vocabulary software has engaging games that provide children with the learning tools that can enhance vocabulary at a fast pace. Wordsmart Vocabulary Software works much faster than traditional vocabulary building methods – words are presented in an optimal order for faster acquisition. Word Smart publishes vocabulary activities, math games, and word games, all of which are fun, engaging ways to reach your child with critical vocabulary skills.

One of our favorites for building vocabulary is the **Critical Thinking Company‘s Word Roots software program. This software program is an award winning, easy to use, easy to understand program that teaches Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, suffixes, and their meanings. The programs can be purchased as texts or as computer based software games. The computer based games make this an ideal program for any child with a visual learning style. Even though my son has significant dyslexia, he loves learning the Greek and Latin roots, and finds the software fun to play with.

Another great teaching tool we’ve used is the **Spectrum Word Study and Phonics workbooks offered by McGraw-Hill. This set of workbooks is good for teaching word structure, some basic decoding skills, and vocabulary. The books are a good high-level reinforcement of word learning, but won’t provide sufficient depth for a child with a specific learning disability when used as an only program. For any child who can remember and recall with minimal practice, the series is excellent, and it serves well as a reinforcement activity for children who require more in depth practice of skills.