How Many New Words Do Children Learn from Books?

Reading is one of the ways that children begin to build their vocabularies. It is estimated that during the course of one year, a child learns 4,000 to 12,000 new words from reading books. Children also learn new words through conversation, being read to and eventually through formal instruction.

More facts about children and new words:

  • Many children begin to build their vocabularies between the ages of 15 months and 30 months. The average child knows 50 words at 18 months but will increase his or her vocabulary to about 300 words by his or her second birthday. At 30 months, it is not unusual for a child to have a vocabulary that includes about 600 words.

  • Reading age-appropriate books and other types of reading materials helps children develop comprehension skills and aids in increasing their vocabularies.

  • Parents can promote reading comprehension and the expansion of a child’s vocabulary by reading to that child regularly. Over time, this process should include the parents encouraging the child to begin to read the words to the parents, which helps reinforce comprehension and builds the child’s confidence.

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