Once you acquire the Pocket Learner workbook the rest is fairly straight forward. A simple manipulation of the pockets and a little innovation on your part using cards that are specifically designed to familiarise your child with all the essential words they will need at age three and beyond, will ultimately unlock the door to simple but effective communication.
The added bonus is that your child can start practising in an environment that is familiar, interesting, stimulating and fun. Formal vocabulary building is usually not viewed as a “fun” task and is typically neglected but with the Pocket Learner you and your child can have lots of fun learning words.
The beauty about the Pocket Learner is that children can learn at their own pace although it is advisable to have reasonable targets to measure progress. As your child starts to progress and becomes more relaxed and comfortable with a particular learning style do not be afraid to extend their imagination with more challenging words. Be proactive and try to encourage the child using a reward structure. Each child is different so try varying rewards such as praise, music or playing with a favourite toy until you discover what best motivates the child. Each Pocket Learner set comes with one set of cards encompass many diverse subjects and suitable for all age groups.
A word of caution - be patient as research studies have shown that in most cases words have to be met 5-7 times before they are admitted to long-term memory.
It has long been recognised that vocabulary, not grammar, is the key to a child understanding what they hear and to successfully communicating their ideas, needs or wants to other peopleAs Wilkins (1972) so eloquently stated “while without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed”. For this reason it is vitally important for a child to quickly build up a large store of words.
Research has shown that the size of a person's working vocabulary is both a measure of educational attainment and a key to academic and career success. Unfortunately, research also shows marked differences in vocabulary development in students from high income as well as low income families, with a widening gap during the first three years in the lives of children.
Much of this can be attributed to the level of verbal interaction that children have with their parents and it is significant to note that researchers have found a difference of almost 300 spoken words per hour between parents who hold professional positions and parents on welfare. As a result, by the age of three, children in "professional" families actually had a larger vocabulary than the parents with low-incomes (Hart and Risley 1995).
Against this background, it is clear that it is of paramount importance for every parent and teacher to ensure that there are adequate strategies in place for fostering vocabulary development at an early stage.