Words Learned From Reading Rapunzel

Ever since I became aware of the Hayes-Ahrens study that stressed the importance of reading to our babies, I have been looking at books a bit differently.  It emphasized that when we read to children, they are exposed to words that they would not encounter through daily interactions with adults.

I have always loved books, and I delight in reading to my children, but I’ve never viewed books as a powerful means to teaching new vocabulary. However, that is exactly what reading to children does.  It familiarizes them with language, especially new and unfamiliar language. That is why it is so important to read to our children.  It makes it much less difficult for them to later read words that they have interacted with before.  They become familiar with how the words are used and what they mean.
With this in mind, I realized all of the new words my 2 year old daughter was learning as we read Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky.  The illustrations are just beautiful and my daughter loves the book and wants to hear it again and again.  By rereading the book, the new words are being stored in her brain for future use and reference.  I really have to agree with the study.  I can’t think of a situation, except when reading a book, when we would choose to use some of the following words.
  • luxuriant
  • craving
  • wretched
  • abundance
  • elegant
  • inquired
  • embraced
  • misery
  • landscape
  • plummeted
  • sheared
  • consented
  • vision
Reading a book to your child seems such a small investment of your time, for such large rewards.  And besides that, it is so much fun.