Learning new vocabulary is daunting, especially when you’re struggling to understand the meaning of the words you use. It’s difficult to know where to start or what to focus on. And while there are some really great resources out there, not all of them work for everyone. What may be a fantastic tool for someone, may not work with you. It’s a good thing there are many different ways to learn some new words. Let’s take a look at a few strategies.
This is a simple strategy that not only makes it easier for any student to remember vocabulary but enables engaging with new vocabulary throughout the day. Pictures are a great tool for teaching in general, regardless of whether you’re teaching new vocabulary or trying to teach grammar structures. That’s why a lot of teachers are so fond of using them because it works for just about anyone. Telling someone what a verb is, isn’t quite the same as giving them an example sentence with the subject doing something, is it? Also, a lot of people learn to use visual memory, and it’s easier to remember a picture than trying to recall or piece together each letter of the word.
There are some students who learn well by breaking the word down. For these students, giving them the definition won’t do much. If that’s you, unscrambling words is a great way to get you familiar with new vocabulary. We all have teachers that have taught us the rules of the language, and one of them being that we can break words down into smaller components in order to understand them better. This strategy helps you get used to seeing the word broken down into pieces before it’s presented as a whole. That way you can visualize how the letters fit together, and you will more easily remember them. For learning vocabulary this way, it is useful to have a word unscrambler. This helpful tool allows you to scramble the word, rearrange the letters until they fit together and make sense. Give it a try and see if this strategy is helpful for you!
Draw it out
This strategy is great for visual learners, just like pictures are. Drawing the word out is a great way to get those visual learners engaged. It’s a very simple task and one that doesn’t take up too much of your time. Drawing out the word helps you with pronunciation as well. Instead of trying to remember how it’s pronounced, most people can easily recall a visual memory rather than trying to figure out how it sounds. This allows you to focus on the words and not really worry about how to pronounce them. It doesn’t matter if you’re an artistic person or not, drawing can be a great strategy for remembering words and also a lot of fun!
This strategy works well with all kinds of students, but especially those who learn best through auditory memory. Creating stories is your chance to get creative and push yourself out of your comfort zone by thinking of something that involves multiple vocabulary words in a single story. You can also look at pictures or videos to get inspired by the images. Once you have a story in mind, just add any vocabulary words that aren’t familiar to you. This way it gives your brain a chance to come up with new ideas and from there it should allow you to remember them better. There are some limitations to this strategy though, so keep this thing in mind – this strategy is more effective in reaching higher levels in language learning, so don’t use it when you’re learning new vocabulary.
Mind mapping is an ever-popular strategy that works well with concept mapping. It’s a great way to learn new words by associating them with other words and concepts. This can be used as a brainstorming tool before you start studying, or you can make one after reading through the material once, putting down whatever comes to your mind when you read it. This will help you understand the material better and also put it in your own words. Now, this is where the association comes in – once you have all of that down, try to draw lines between them in order to create a visual link that will help you remember the meanings of each word by linking it to other concepts.
Flashcards are a classic strategy that most people have used at least once in their learning careers. You can either make your own or you can use some of the many template options online to save yourself time and effort. The strategy here is simple, just write down the definition on one side and the word on the other. This way, it’s very easy to quiz yourself if you’re trying to learn the words in a specific order. Also, you could put a picture or a drawing on the back of each card in order to help you memorize it even better. The benefit of this strategy over others is that you can use it as often as you want, whether that’s once or twice a day or even more. Using flashcards is also great because it’s easy to see how much your vocabulary has improved over time.
Learning new words is a complicated process, and it’s difficult for everyone. Knowing where to start can be confusing on top of that. It is most important that you have the will for learning, and the rest will follow.
Hopefully, there are a lot of different ways and strategies for vocabulary learning out there for you to try and use. The strategies discussed above are just a few of the many that exist but will prove useful in your learning process. There isn’t one strategy that works for everyone, so be creative and try several to see what works best.