Vocabulary Building Ideas


How can I help my child?

Talk to your child about the topics they are learning in class

  • in your own language only
  • or in English only
  • or in your own language and then in English


What to do?

You and your child share and talk.

  • Read books about the topic together.
  • Explain things/ideas about the topic.
  • Show them pictures on the topic if you can.


Help your child learn new words by:

  • talking about each word in your own language – what it is – what it means – whether it is the same in New Zealand as in your own country and culture.
  • you and your child using the word in sentences in your own language and talking about the ideas and meanings.
  • by translating the written words into your own language or getting your child to do this.
  • by looking at pictures, making drawings or showing something that helps your child see what the words in your language and in English is and what they mean.
  • if you know English, saying the words, using them in English sentences and talking about them.


Why help your child in this way?

It really helps your child when he or she comes to school with more topic related words and understanding.

Your child is also able to participate more  during class discussions and group work.


You are a key person to help your child’s knowledge grow.



Originally developed by Jannie van Hees & Sungeeta Singh © 2001 © 2003 Permission to use in the English Language Assistants Professional Development Programme 2018