Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Vocabulary in Early Childhood

At the age of 2, a child's vocabulary may consist of 200 words. By the age of 6 that child will have acquired 10,000 words. In order to accomplish this, children will learn up to 5 new words a day. Children connect words with their meaning after a short time of exposure. This is called fast mapping. Verbs are acquired especially fast in order to understand the relationship between and object and it's action. Children may create their own words in place of words that they may have not learned yet. For example, a child may call a gardener "plant-man". By contrasting words they already know, preschoolers are able to understand the meanings of new words. The first several hundred nouns learned will be organized by shape. This is known as shape bias. It has been found that preschoolers are most successful at learning new words when several kinds of information are available. Grammar usage begins between the ages of 2 and 3. Children will begin to use a subject-verb-object word order. In my opinion the best way to benefit the child's vocabulary at this stage is to actively converse with them. Expose them to as many people as possible and always encourage active communication.

-Jordan Milliken


  1. This post reminds me of when my cousin Olivia was younger and would, like you said, call anything by words she already knew. Since I was a teenager when she was little, I was going through the dreaded acne everyone seems to experience. I had it particularly bad one time when I saw Olivia and she kept asking me why there were dots on my face. That moment is always going to stick with me since it was comical. Probably a little too much information for you, but I thought that it was a story that fit well here.

    Katie Meehan

  2. I think my granddaughter had a 10,000 word vocabualry by the time she was three. She was talking very fluently by the time she was two. She is 3 1/2. She says some big words for her age and uses them in the right context. My grandson, on the other hand, is eighteen months old and only says a few words. It is so much fun to be able to relate what we are learning in HBSE to my grandchildren. I wish I would have known some of this information when my girls were growing up.
    Susan Davis