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Ideas for Increasing Vocabulary

June 4, 2019 by Angela Hansen

One of the great things about language is that it is constantly expanding and developing no matter where you are at in life. Some of the ways adults expand their language is by reading, listening to others talk, and/or speaking with others. For children their language comes from similar situations. Children will hear you talk and pick up on both positive and negative words. They will start to read and ask “what is that?” They also talk with others, siblings, parents, peers, other adults in their lives.

Some simple ideas for at home expansion would be:

Narrating Their Lives:

  • Everyone loves a good narration and doing this with your child can help them hear and relate words to items.
    • Example: “That’s a red ball.” “You threw the red ball!”


  • Not all kids love to listen to books but interacting while reading can be a game changer!
  • While reading you can point to the different items on the page that the story is talking about.
  • You can also pause and ask “Where is the _______?” This helps with your child’s ability to identify objects! Which is a form of expanding.


  • When going through the day, your child might be used to pointing or grunting to receive things they want.
  • You can try to pause before giving them things. This is called a delayed model.
  • Saying “I want.” then leaving a small pause to give your child time to answer. After a few moments you can say “cookie/ desired item.” Before giving the cookie, encourage them to imitate the desired object.

Giving Options:

  • When you might be unsure what your child is wanting or maybe they only have a few choices to pick from.
  • You can show them two items (one in each hand) for them to pick. After they point/grab the item that they want, you can move back to our “pausing” technique.

These are a few easy items to sneak into your daily routine! Hope these tips and tricks help with expanding that language at home. Along with the homework/ assistance that is given to you by a speech therapist.


Bryce Gohn, SPLA


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