|The best way to acquire vocabulary is to hear a word used in speech or encounter it in the course of reading a book. Memorizing definitions from a vocabulary list is a far inferior method.
In a sense, reading begins at birth because that is when children begin learning words. The more vocabulary that children acquire from birth until the age of five, the less difficulty they will have in learning to read.
Unfortunately, large numbers of children begin school with very small vocabularies and little general knowledge.
According to one estimate, pre-schoolers of professional families are typically exposed to 2,150 different words before they begin school. Pre-schoolers from working class families arrive with about 1,250 words. Children of welfare parents may begin school with as few as 620 words.
The only certain way to protect your child from reading failure is to send your five-year-old to school with an adequate vocabulary and knowledge of the alphabet.