6 Reasons Why It’s Important to Develop Vocabulary Skills

My friend’s 93-year-old father-in-law works on crossword puzzles for several hours each day. He says it keeps his mind sharp.

He has a tattered dictionary he uses to look up the meanings of words. When he’s stumped, he finds the answer in the back of the crossword puzzle book, then he puts a mark beside it to show that he didn’t know the answer. (He is a man of integrity.)

Keeping your mind sharp is only one of many good reasons why you should develop your vocabulary. 

Let’s take a look at a few other reasons why you should include a vocabulary curriculum like Daily Skill Building: Vocabulary in your homeschool: 

Vocabulary increases knowledge.

“The limits of my language are the limits of my universe.” ―Goethe

Expand your vocabulary, and you will expand your world!

“Knowledge of things and knowledge of words for them grow together. If you do not know the words, you can hardly know the thing.” —Henry Hazlitt

Don’t underestimate the value of learning one new word every day. As your student’s vocabulary grows, his or her knowledge grows, too. 

Vocabulary increases reading comprehension.

“Your understanding of what you read and hear is, to a very large degree, determined by your vocabulary, so improve your vocabulary daily.”—Zig Ziglar 

Have you ever struggled through a text that was filled with unfamiliar words? 

“To enjoy and learn from what you read you must understand the meanings of the words… You do yourself a grave disservice if you read around words you don’t know, or worse, merely guess at what they mean without bothering to look them up.” ― Charles Harrington Elster

Although we should stop and look up words we don’t know … with the speed of life that can be hard to do. When you help your student develop a wide vocabulary, he or she gains a great advantage with regard to reading comprehension

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” —Mark Twain

Vocabulary increases a person’s ability to communicate.

“All conversation, big or small, is about painting word pictures of your experiences for other people.” ―Nicholas Boothman

Expanded vocabulary allows you to be precise and effective in your communication. 

“It is our duty and our joy to communicate our hearts to each other. Words assist us in this task.” ―Kate DiCamillo

Rather than stumble around, cobbling together a collection of words that inaccurately expresses a thought—an expanded vocabulary makes it easier to find that one word that concisely and correctly communicates the exact thought you want to share.

“The way people talk is the best indication of how they think, and the most powerful instrument for influencing a person’s thought process is the spoken word.” —Zig Ziglar 

Vocabulary enhances critical thinking skills.

Speaking of thinking, increasing your student’s vocabulary is key to increasing his or her critical thinking skills.

“A man with a scant vocabulary will almost certainly be a weak thinker. The richer and more copious one’s vocabulary and the greater one’s awareness of fine distinctions and subtle nuances of meaning, the more fertile and precise is likely to be one’s thinking.” ―Henry Hazlitt

Lack of vocabulary limits a student’s ability to process information and develop his or her intellect. This can severely stunt a student’s potential.

“The powerful intellect leashed by an impoverished vocabulary is a myth. Without a vocabulary, a language, the intellect cannot develop.” ―T. Geronimo Johnson

Vocabulary increases the probability of academic and career success.

“… there’s a positive correlation between a student’s vocabulary size in grade 12, the likelihood that she will graduate from college, and her future level of income.” —E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

It’s easy to see why students with expanded vocabulary are more likely to excel in school. 

“Advantaged students who arrive in the classroom with background knowledge and vocabulary will understand what a textbook or teacher is saying and will therefore learn more; disadvantaged students who lack such prior knowledge will fail to understand and thus fall even further behind …” —E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

Sadly, there was a shift in teaching ideology that was implemented in the 1950s and 1960s which resulted in less vocabulary development. The negative impact of that shift became apparent in a precipitous fall of verbal SAT scores. 

“As vocabulary is reduced, so are the number of feelings you can express, the number of events you can describe, the number of the things you can identify! Not only understanding is limited, but also experience.” ―Sheri S. Tepper

Vocabulary increases life skills.

Problem-solving skills are one of the most important life skills a student can possess. 

“Vocabulary words are the building blocks of the internal learning structure. Vocabulary is also the tool to better define a problem, seek more accurate solutions, etc.” ―Ruby K. Payne

As we’ve already established, increased vocabulary increases a student’s ability to think. 

But beyond academic achievement and career success, an expanded vocabulary better equips a student for life. 

“The more words you know, the more clearly and powerfully you will think … and the more ideas you will invite into your mind.” ―Wilfred Funk

And, lastly, it is important to consider how much of life revolves around relationships. The ability to share words of encouragement with others is a profound gift made more accessible by an expanded vocabulary.

And, as Zig Ziglar wisely observed: 

“You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.”

Take a look at our open and go vocabulary curriculum: