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The Importance of Vocabulary and Semantic Skills for Children

During early childhood, there are new things to learn every day, and even every minute. Skills to acquire, feelings to identify, and an entire language to figure out how to speak. If you think about the prospect of learning an entirely new language as an adult, you can imagine how much of a challenge this can be for infants.

Despite this, most young children learn language at an impressive rate. But the range of words they learn will depend a lot on you as a parent. It's up to you to nurture their vocabulary and semantic skills—and these are super important skills to learn.

You may be wondering: what makes them so? This guide will tell you everything you need to know about vocabulary and semantics for young kids and what makes them so critical.

Understanding Semantics and Vocabulary

Before we learn what makes them so important, let's take a look at what semantics and vocabulary actually are. A vocabulary refers to the collection of words that makes up a person's language. A person with a wide vocabulary, for example, will know a wide range of different words.

Knowledge of semantics, on the other hand, is the cognizance of different words and sentences and what they mean. Different people can interpret different words or sentences in different ways. This is why people use contextual clues in order to parse what exactly a certain set of words means.

As you can see, understanding semantics plays a huge role in how well your child is able to communicate. As does the size of their vocabulary.

Why They're Important for Kids

Being able to communicate is, of course, important for kids. It can affect them in a social, emotional, and developmental sense if they're not able to do so. There's also evidence to suggest it may affect them academically as well.

One study found that children who heard more words prior to their fourth birthday were high-achieving. They were better not just at reading and recognizing words, but also scored higher on tests and progressed more quickly than their classmates.

Vocabulary development for children starts with their parents. It's important to do everything you can to ensure your child is exposed to a wide range of words.

Semantic development is equally important for young kids. It allows them to better understand and express more complex concepts and ideas. 

A lack of knowledge of semantics can lead to kids not understanding what's being said or what's going on around them. This can lead to issues such as the inability to follow instructions and carry on conversations.

Improve Your Child's Vocabulary and Semantic Skills Today

If you'd like to improve the vocabulary and semantic skills of your child, there are many different things you can do. Reading to them, speaking to them, and engaging them as much as possible can all help.

If you're in need of extra assistance, Upbility has tons of materials designed by qualified and experienced professionals available to use. Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help your child today.

Alice Kassotaki - Speech Language Pathologist MSc, BSc

copyright Upbility 2022


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