Building Vocabulary with Purpose

There are programs and workbooks available that will build vocabulary based on the SAT tests or ACT tests, or that will just add obscure words to your brain storage. I think I hit on a more useful approach.

Regardless of your field of study or the job you might one day hold, sooner or later in life you will find yourself sitting across the desk from a doctor, reading through a contract for a major purchase, or reading about some findings released on a new cancer study.  There will be specialized vocabulary words to contend with. So why not build your child’s vocabulary in a useful way and introduce the child to these specialized vocabularies?  It also creates the opportunity for meaningful discussion with people in a variety of fields.  For true communication, we have to speak the same language- and sometimes that simply means understanding the terminology involved.

When my sons reached the junior high years, we started working to expand their vocabulary in this way. We took one subject at a time and spent as much time as needed on the list. You can tackle the topics in any order.

I have included the lists that we came up with over the years. You can add more of your own. I simply assigned a list to the boys and they had to hunt down the meanings. Later, we talked about context and implications. I learned a few things, and I’m sure you will, too.

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