A doting father talks with his son as the boy is happily playing with his food.

How to Strengthen Your Child’s Literacy Skills in Everyday Conversations

Vocabulary Building - What Is That? And What Does It Have to Do With Literacy Skills?

Does your child ask you “what does that mean?” when they hear you talking to others? That’s fantastic! It means your child is developing strong vocabulary building skills. Vocabulary building is when your child knows the meanings of words, the names of things, feelings & ideas and is learning the meanings of new words.

Vocabulary building is an important element of early childhood literacy skills. When your child hears you say a word they don’t understand and asks you about it, they are processing familiar words, context clues, recognizing unfamiliar words, and expressing an avid curiosity about them. Curiosity is a wonderful tool in their literacy journey.

Here are some easy ways to strengthen your child’s vocabulary in everyday conversations with them:

  • Point out synonyms for objects they are already familiar with. At breakfast you can point to a cereal box and ask them, “what’s another word for box? Container.” While helping with their homework you could ask, “what are some different things you can write with? Pencil, pen, marker, crayon”. You can turn this into a fun game during the day with plenty of encouragement and praise.
  • Use words they don’t know on purpose. This can challenge your child to better interpret context clues. Always provide the answer if they can’t figure it out. When vocabulary building is a fun experience instead of a frustrating one, your child will retain more information and be more likely to develop strong lifelong literacy skills.
  • Flip the script: Ask them to try and stump you on a word’s meaning. As children learn more vocabulary words at school, it can be for them to teach that knowledge to you. Be sure to let your child stump you often! Ask them what the funniest, weirdest, longest, or most confusing word is that they’ve learned that week. Perhaps provide entertaining and exaggerated reactions like, “NO WAY! FLABBERGHASTED?! That’s incredible! How do you even spell that? Wow! Let’s look it up. Thanks for telling me that one! I’m going to use it twice this week.”
A mother her toddler, young daughter, and grade school daughter sit in a circle laughing and playing with trivia cards.
In photo: Early Readers Deck interactive trivia cards, Storypod speaker, and interchangeable sleeve.

Storypod can support your child’s vocabulary building and early literacy skill development in the following ways:

It is never too early to start building your child’s vocabulary. Like the CDC, Storypod encourages building your child’s vocabulary with nursery rhymes starting at birth. Audio learning can help kids develop their vocabulary by increasing their exposure to new words and by providing context clues.

Our Melodee Moose, Manu Monkey, Tali Tucan, and Uma Unicorn Crafties (for 0 - 24 months old) play music, sing nursery rhymes, and help provide your child with exposure to familiar words, new words, rhyming songs and helpful melodies (many in English and en Español).

A great way to help your child build their vocabulary is with our interactive trivia cards. Our Early Readers Deck (for ages 6+) helps build vocabulary with rhyming & fill in the blank activities. They also help your child recognize and differentiate between verbs and nouns. As your child’s vocabulary expands, so do our trivia card decks.

Our read-along audiobooks are a fun way to expand your child’s vocabulary. BeginningMind (recommended for ages 5-6) teaches about abstract ideas. Learning how to talk about ideas is an important part of vocabulary building and your child’s early literacy skill development.


  1. Saroj Ghoting, Early Childhood Literacy Consultant, The Five Practices And The Early Literacy Components Support Each Other
  2. CDC Milestone Checklist