Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Movie Nights Lead to Increased Vocabulary, Dagnabbit

Saturday evenings are Video Night at our house. Each week, we get a movie from our local public library and watch it together in our family room while eating pizza. Kai especially looks forward to it, but so do my wife and I.

In the past, Kai hasn’t always maintained his interest throughout the entire movie. Lately, though, he seems to hold his attention for longer. Perhaps it’s maturity. Perhaps the recent movie selections are more to his liking.

Some of the ones he’s enjoyed lately include many of the Disney movies including classics like Alice in Wonderland, and more recent films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Pocahontas, and Tarzan. And this week we got the Dreamworks film Madagascar.

Because English is not my wife’s native language, we always setup the movie with English subtitles. It helps my wife catch some of the words she may otherwise miss.

Lately, we are finding that watching with subtitles is helping our son increase his vocabulary as well.

Kai will grab the remote, pause the video, and ask what a particular word means. “Dad, what does ‘ignite’ mean?”

Usually the words that interest him the most are the ones used in particularly funny scenes. This week, he inquired about Bisquick, Butterball, and dagnabbit, among others.

Sometimes I am challenged to explain the definition in a way that is easy for him to understand.

But I love that he is so motivated to learn. I don’t think he would easily sit through a vocabulary class, so it’s great that we unintentionally found a way to teach him new words.

Plus, he probably won’t be taught some of these words through school, so this way he is introduced to words and phrases that people use.

Now we just have to make sure that he only uses words that appropriate, dagnabbit.

11 comments:

  1. I agree, technology is a fab way to teach more vocab. It's definitely the reason my ASD 4 year old can count to 10 and say hello in 4 different languages (thanks Dora). You do have to 'watch' it though - occsionally she says words with an American accent, and that just won't do ;)

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  2. LOL!!! Hah, yes, you have to watch out about those bad influences like American accents! :)

    That's so cool that your daughter can say hello in 4 languages!

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  3. that was an excellent post
    I LOVE the whole subtitles idea
    when R was a little kid one of the ways in which we realized just how hyperlexix he was when we saw him watching videos with the sound off and the cc on

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  4. Thanks, F.L.M. Our kids can be amazing, huh?

    Kai is such a visual learner so reading the subtitles help him learn the words much better than just hearing them.

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  5. Movies are a great way to teach. He learns application. He will see the connection between emotions and delivery. He will get intonations and body/facial expressions along with any new vocabulary. The only real problem is finding movies with age appropriate material without the goofy and exaggerated animated expressions and smiles :)

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  6. What a fun weekly tradition!

    My boys have been loving Beauty and the Beast lately. I think they have a crush on Beauty. :)

    dagnabbit...gotta love that. ha.

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  7. Shiroi Tora-san, right now it's hard to picture Kai enjoying a movie without the goofy expressions. I wonder if he will ever outgrow that?

    Betsy, we haven't seen Beauty and the Beast yet so we will get to that soon, I'm sure. Hah, I can see how your boys would have a crush on Beauty. Although I think Ariel is more my type. :)

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  8. Oh wow - that is really amazing! I love how movies can engage socialization, conversation, spontaneous questions! That is so great.

    I never would have thought of doing that - even though we all speak english, I think Norrin may enjoy the subtitles.

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  9. Lisa, I wouldn't be surprised if Norrin enjoys the subtitles. With my son, he always liked having it on, but just in the past few weeks, he's been asking a lot more questions of what unfamiliar words mean.

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  10. I wonder if he'd like idiom books? There are some really cute ones for kids!

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  11. that was an excellent post
    I LOVE the whole subtitles idea
    when R was a little kid one of the ways in which we realized just how hyperlexix he was when we saw him watching videos with the sound off and the cc on


    ACT vocabulary flashcards
    SAT vocabulary flashcards

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