Research shows that children learn thousands of new words by the age of 5. Teaching children new words and how to pronounce them correctly can be very simple, but teaching them the meanings of those new words can be more challenging.
Recently, my 5-year-old daughter and I were having a discussion about gender. The conversation began while she was trying to determine which restroom to enter at our local recreational center. I explained to her that she always needs to look for the words “women” or “female.” I decided introduce a new word to her during this conversation. I explained to her that she should avoid going into the restroom that has the words “men” or “male.” Male is a word that she was not familiar with. My inquisitive little woman requested a more in depth explanation, so I did my best.
My daughter is very bright and absorbs new information like a sponge. Several weeks after our male/female discussion we took a trip to the post office. As we drove up to place items inside the mailbox my daughters says, “Mom, don’t you know since my brother is a male we can put a stamp on him and mail him, too.” Talk about I proud mom moment! I was so excited to hear my daughter attempt to use a new word she had learned in her own (funny) way.
It’s been said that the English language is difficult to learn because words that sound the same have various meanings, but my daughter, who is just beginning her journey to learn more about the English language, has already began to use her personal knowledge and experiences to interpret word meanings. I’d say that’s worth talking about.