How do we enhance and grow a vocabulary painlessly and dramatically? Literacy development is contingent on the use of words in both conversation and writing that encourage learners to set goals to use the vocabulary they are learning. One way to do this (credit give to the second grade teacher in Brooklyn) is to have a “Stay” and “Go Away” word list. This allows the parent and teacher to help the learner (of any age group) to substitute a better word for a word currently in use. There is a comfort zone when using words that we are familiar with, however, Vygotsky (zone of proximal development theorist) showed us that when we challenge our children to stretch beyond the familiar to the uncommon we imcrease their learning.
The “Stay and Go Away” method is a fun way to say these words are better choices than others. Parents and teachers can easily target certain words to move into the “Go Away” section without diminishing self efficacy when always accepting the choice of the simpler word, and then encouraging the movement to the replacement word.
Just introducing other words that describe the commonly used “boring” or “bored” would be a tremendous move towards building descriptive and expressive language.