How to Expand your Kids Vocabulary? Start their word log!

Yes, this will be another mommy post about how I insist on my kids reading.

My son is currently reading the Three musketeers by Alexandre Dumas in its original language “Les Trois Mousquetaires”. So far, he likes the writing style, the pace of the novel and the type of intrigue. He finds it more to his taste than Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. One book is a whodunit and the other is a quest. They are two very distinct narrative types. Yesterday, after I had read him a few pages before bed (a tradition we both love) he stayed up to read rather than watching TV. He read a few more pages. He left to go to school with the book.


But the book contains many words that are not in use today (not part of modern vernacular) and many words that are new to his young years. So we started a log of words. He inventories the words he is not familiar with and I look them up in a dictionary and jot them down for him. It is a compromise. In an ideal world, he would look them up himself and would write-down the words himself. But just getting him to keep the log on top of just reading the book is already a step. Since he’s reading a very strong book and not a Diary of a wimpy kid, I consider this a win.

To be honest, there are some words, I did not know myself.

Some examples of things we’ve learned thus far are: a league is equivalent to 5.6 kilometers, a fathom is equivalent to 6 meters, an alguazil is a policeman-warrant officer and constable (sort of a 3 for 1 post), a pistole is a gold unit, it is worth  1 and 2/3 an ecu.

In this day and age, one could look up words online just as easily but the pleasure of rifling through a dictionary is still strong for me. I am actually thinking of leaving the dictionary in the bathroom to get the kids to look that over instead of the iPad while they do bathroom arithmetic.

Ha! Now that’s funny! Instead of saying number one and number two, bathroom arithmetic. I am too funny for words am I not? LOL! I enjoy my own jokes. If you do not, that’s ok, I amused myself.

That said, we’ve instated a rule in the household. No iPad during the week. Because an iPad can be much more dynamic than a book and I want no competition.

Incidentally, my daughter is reading the Travels of Thelonious (Fog Mound) (a mix of writing and graphic storytelling) It’s quite interesting. We read cuddled together. We get to spend mommy-daughter time while also enjoying the prose of Susan Schade. She’s younger so I’m not as tough on the reading requirements. I’m still tough though! I never drop the topic.

Travel of Thelonious by Susan Schade

Travel of Thelonious by Susan Schade

Have you made your kids jot down the words they discover in a book? Most of the time, they skip it and the whole sentence or they provide a best-guess definition for a book.

It fails to register in their hungry little minds. Remember, their brains are sponges, they need to be constantly fed.

Well, I will end this post by saying that my next task is to actually look-up 15 words discovered in the first 56 pages.

Happy Monday, y’all!


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