When your child is reading a difficult book and asks you to define words, it helps to model the definition process. While sometimes we are busy and can’t take the time, there are other times when it pays off to take a few moments to walk through the vocabulary learning process.
First, ask your child if they need to know the exact definition of the word. Is it important or does the child understand the text without the word?
Second, can your child figure out the word from the context clues and the surrounding sentences?
Does your child recognize any parts of the word? Is it similar to any other words they know?
Is it necessary to look the word up in a dictionary?
Finally, after looking up the word, re-read the sentence and review the questions above to see if they could have figured the word out on their own.
If your child struggles with vocabulary, it would be helfpul to have a vocabulary chart. Write down any new words with their definitions and review them every once in awhile. Ask your child to try to use them in spoken or written sentences. Model this by using the words yourself.