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Early Literacy for Families

Prepare your child for success in reading, school and life with these resources from San Antonio Public Library's early literacy program.

What is Vocabulary?

Vocabulary is knowing the name of things. Research shows that children who have larger vocabularies are better readers. Knowing many words helps children recognize written words and understand what they read.

Birth to two:
  • Talk with your baby or toddler about what is going on around you.
  • Listen carefully to your child’s babbling or talking and answer.
  • Ask lots of questions.
  • Speak clearly. Use short sentences. Repeat.
  • Speak in the language that is most comfortable for you.
  • Read together every day.
Two- and three-year-olds, all of the above plus:
  • Talk about feelings - yours and your child's.
  • When your child talks to you, add more detail to what she says.
Four- and five-year-olds, all of the above plus:
  • Talk about how things work, feelings and ideas.
  • Learn together by reading some true books on subjects your child likes.

“Vocabulary is learned from books more than from normal conversation with adults or children or from television exposure.” Quote from Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children by B. Hart and T. R. Risley.

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