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The importance of vocabulary

Why is vocabulary so important?

Vocabulary, much more than grammar, is the key to your child understanding what she hears and reads in school; and to communicating successfully with other people. For this reason it is very important for her to quickly build up a large store of words. Research studies have shown the strong links between having an extensive vocabulary and achieving school success

Which words should my child learn?

I have collected together about 1,500 of the words that your child needs to learn in the first two years at Frankfurt International School. These words are taught through different vocabulary worksheet exercises. And they can be seen and practised on the vocabulary section of this website.

As well as this, your child has to collect about 15 words of her own each week. These are the words she meets in her reading or other school situations, and which seem useful or interesting to her. She keeps a record of these words, either in a vocabulary journal, or on vocabulary cards. I then select from these words the ones that I consider to be worth learning. Your child is tested 4 times each school year on these selected words.

How can I help my child learn words?

Research studies have shown that in most cases words have to be met 5-7 times before they are admitted to long-term memory. This is how, through reading, we learn the words of our own language. Words are also more easily learned if your child is active - drawing a picture of the word, writing her own definition of it in English or the mother tongue, thinking of an example sentence to use it in. This is better than simply writing the word and its native language equivalent.

You can help by encouraging your child to read at home. More than this, you can test your child on the words she has collected on cards or in a vocabulary book. Your child has been instructed in the various ways that words can be tested, and can instruct you!


Frankfurt International School: Art and artists. (Click to see at full size.)