Vocabulary Development - Preschool

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

As we continue to explore vocabulary development, we'll learn a little more about the preschool years - three to five years old. Preschoolers are full of energy and curious about the world around them. They begin to develop not only a sense of sense, but also the needs of others. Preschoolers enjoy imaginative play such as dressing up, telling stories, creating art and more. This is an exciting time for vocabulary development, which allows children to begin to problem solve and express their own ideas.

- Dr. Seuss

Age Appropriate Learning Activities for Building Vocabulary - Preschool

Three Year Old - Children at this stage are curious learners. They want to know about everything around them! They will sit and enjoy books for a longer period of time and can turn the pages one at a time. Children at this age may pretend to "read" to others and mimic actions used when stories are read aloud. Vocabulary has grown from about 300 words up to 1,000 words on average.

  • Share stories that encourage rhyming, riddles, guessing and suspense.

  • Read aloud frequently using actions and expression.

  • Provide opportunities to sort objects based on color, size, amount, etc...

  • Ask simple questions about what you are reading together.

  • Recite nursery rhymes and sing songs together.

  • Offer a wide variety of books on a variety of topics.

  • Start to make trips to the library apart of your regular routines and offer children the chance to pick out their own books.

Book Suggestions:

Four Year Old - Energy and imagination abounds at this age! Children are full of ideas and endless chatter. Parents' and caregivers' patience may be tested as children are learning to practice self-control. Four year olds love to be helpful, too, so encouraging this desire is important.

  • Offer opportunities to identify and write letters.

  • Allow your child the opportunity to practice writing his or her name.

  • Share simple books that may only have a few words per page and encourage your child to reread it back to you.

  • Share stories about how things grow and operate.

  • Recite nursery rhymes and sing songs.

  • Play games together such as Candyland and Chutes and Ladders.

  • Encourage putting puzzles together.

  • When reading together, ask your child questions such as "What comes next?"

Book Suggestions:

Five Year Old - At this age, most children are friendly and outgoing much of the time. They begin to develop friendships and enjoy group activities. Encouraging your five year old to continue to practice developing skills is a major focus at this stage. Typically many five years olds have a vocabulary of 1,500 words or more.

  • Give opportunities to sort objects based on a variety of attributes such as size, color, shape, etc...

  • Continue to explore the letters of the alphabet - both uppercase and lowercase.

  • Ask open-ended questions while reading and/or through conversation with your child: Why? What? Where? When? How?

  • Allow your child to "read" to you when sharing a familiar story.

  • Encourage your child to identify colors and color words when reading together.

  • Provide a variety of art materials for open-ended creative experiences.

  • Read aloud a variety of books on a variety of topics.

  • Play games together as a family.

Book Suggestions:

Next week, we will continue to look for ways to encourage vocabulary development during the Primary School Years - six to eight years old.

I would love to hear about favorite books that you share with your preschooler. Please comment below or send your suggestions to sarah@skbpublishing.com.

Happy Reading,


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