Words Parents Should Teach their Five-Year-Old Children

The research provides a conclusive evidence that teaching children ‘challenging vocabulary’ should be a top priority, if we want children to understand what they read. When I say ‘challenging vocabulary’ I often mean Tier 2 words.

What are actually Tier 2 words?
Tier 2 words are important words that are used by mature language users across several content areas. Tier 2 words usually require specific instruction. It means that children need to be taught them. In other words, children are not likely to learn them independently by playing with other children, watching TV or playing a computer game.

Why are Tier 2 words important?
Tier 2 words are necessary for good reading comprehension.

Below is the short list of Tier 2 words which should be appropriate for kindergarten children.

annoy, attention, calm, comfortable, consequences, curious, curve, decide, directions, discover, disappointed, embarrassed, enormous, exhausted, explore, fair, fascinating, feast, focus, gigantic, grumpy, huge, ignore, instead, investigate, invite, important, jealous, leader, list, lovely, frustrated, leader, listen, measuring, miserable, mumble, negative, nervous, nibbled, note, notice, observing, opposite, ordinary, positive, precious, prefer, problem, protect, proud, question, reminds, repeat, report, rhyme, respect, rhyme, searching, special, spotless, squirm, stomped, suddenly, suggestion, surprise, uncomfortable, warning, wonder, worried.  

How should parents teach Tier 2 words to young bilingual children?

  • tier 2 words should be taught first in child’s home language
  • don’t expect the child to learn them after the first encounter (5-12 repetitions might be needed)
  • child needs to be provided with child-friendly definitions of challenging words
  • deep processing is crucial for learning challenging words
  • varied examples are also necessary
  • visuals (pictures, cliparts) help children learn vocabulary quicker