FIVE TIPS ON WORD RETRIEVAL
By Nan Bernstein Ratner, Ed.D., University of Maryland
"...word retrieval is faster when a child knows more words and has a better “network” that creates connections among them." -Ratner
- Help to "grow" your child's vocabulary. How? Read with your child regularly.
- Talk about EVERYTHING that you do. Parental input is a major determination of a child's vocabulary skill. More vocabulary leads to improvements in all areas of vocabulary, including word retrieval.
- When you talk about words, help your child to establish the network - the connections between words. For example, talk about a word's opposites: cold and hot, up and down, etc. If the word is an object, talk about its parts and uses.
- Help your child explore how words sound – if a child is actually stuck, see if s/he remembers the sound it starts with, or another word that somehow sounds like it, or means something like it – but – don’t encourage your child to substitute or circumlocute around a word that is hard to find. Teach the child to think a moment on the word that is hard to find. Try to see if cuing with a sound helps – but be careful – we know in stuttering that people finishing words for others, or “mind-reading” the wrong target is very aggravating.
- Play "word games" to enrich your child's network - how many words can they think of that start with a particular sound? How many items in a category (e.g., foods, cars, animals) can they think of? How many words can they use to describe an activity or toy?