Children love big words. I believe it is a mistake to "dumb down" language when reading or talking to a small child. Some of my favorite children's book authors use absolutely gorgeous language. I read that Roald Dahl used to collect lists of words that he would later use in his books. “When you’re describing something or someone,” he said, “you can’t just choose dull words like beautiful, pretty or nice. You must search for more meaty and imaginative words.” Therefore, you may get words like sparkling, radiant, or dazzling when reading a Dahl description of a lovely person, or repulsive, repugnant, or venomous when reading about a nasty character.
We started the day with a Word of the Day. On the board I had written CANTANKEROUS. I gave hints about its meaning, including using it in several sentences. It was also hidden in our mystery message. Finally, someone guessed that it meant cranky. We came up with several more synonyms like angry, grumpy, grouchy, mad. I mentioned that it was a describing word, called an adjective. Children copied the word in their journals and wrote a sentence using the word. Some added a picture.
Finally, I challenged the children to use their new word throughout the day. Perhaps your child will tell you that they will be cantankerous if asked to clean up their room after dinner!