We are all faced with unfamiliar vocabulary in conversation or reading. The more vocabulary we know, the less often we have to stop and puzzle out the meaning of a word we do not recognize. It takes time and effort. The easiest method is to choose a routine activity that becomes a daily habit to have a stronger vocabulary.
Try these proven strategies to build vocabulary*:
Read, read and read some more. The more you read the more words you encounter. As you read, keep a dictionary and thesaurus handy for new words. What works best for you? Dictionaries are available in print, software, and online. Online sites will also pronounce the word for you.
Use a journal to capture and practice new words. Brain research informs us that writing the word and definition in our own handwriting allows the brain to more effectively store the information. Increase the power of this strategy by adding a sentence of your own demonstrating the word’s meaning.
Make vocabulary building a habit and make it fun! Use a word-a-day calendar or find a website you like. Vocabulary building can be fun with word games. Here are a few examples: Dictionary.com’s Word-of-the Day, Vocabulary.com for free word puzzles and activities, WordPlays.com for word games, and Wordgenius.com for the word of the day by email.
Check out the App Stores. Here are a couple of highly recommended apps. It is important to be sure the app level is suited to your current abilities. Otherwise it may be too easy and boring, or too difficult and frustrating.
Knowji is an app available for IOS devices. Knowji provides Vocab 7-10, SAT, GRE, ASVAB Audio Visual Vocabulary Flashcards. The words taught are practical ones often used in news, books, movies, businesses and politics.
SAT Vocab by MindSnacks available from iTunes. Provides SAT vocabulary in nine games designed to build essential SAT, PSAT & GRE words.
Whatever method you choose that works for you will pay dividends in your daily life, your job, and your education. Start building those powerful vocabulary habits today!
*Based on article by Randall S. Hansen
The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.
~ J. K. Rowling
More Ways to Build Your Vocabulary
Ellen Mooney is a retired principal and teacher with more than 45 years of experience in K-12 education.