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Learning New Words

As a child’s vocabulary grows, it gets easier to learn new words. For example, a child who knows eight dinosaur names can learn a new one more easily than a child who knows none. This is known as the “paradigm effect”. Children who know the relations between words, can quickly fill in spaces in their paradigms.

Words that are learned in meaningful experiences are learned better. This means a child who knows about dinosaurs, can learn to label an unfamiliar one faster if you say something like “A maxillosaurus looks like a stegosaurus in size, but has pointed teeth and a huge jaw because it is a meat-eater”. (DETEMPLE AND SNOW, 2003) Picture books work in a similar way because the pictures help clarify meaning.

10 3 2019


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