Ten Ways Students Can Expand Their Vocabularies
1. Become a nonstop reader: Read e-books, print books, blogs, and online articles. The more you read, the greater your background knowledge and the more your vocabulary will grow. Through reading, you’ll meet words in diverse contexts and come to know their multiple meanings.
2. Use new words or lose them: Include words in your conversations, text messages, IMs, and writing. Without use, new words you’ve learned just fade away into the land of forgetting.
3. Develop curiosity about multiple meanings: When you meet a new word in one situation, take a few moments to consider its multiple meanings. Use an online dictionary or thesaurus to explore multiple meanings. Text a friend to see what he or she knows about the word.
4. Bond with a dictionary: If you come across an unfamiliar word, jot it on scrap paper, and when you have a free moment, read about it on an online dictionary.
5. Play vocabulary games: It’s easy to find word games online through Google. Play games with friends, siblings, parents, and on your own. While you’re having fun, you’ll learn new words and revisit old friends.
6. Broaden your interests: Try to branch out and read beyond your interests and hobbies. Read online newspapers, take a virtual tour of a museum, castle, or city. Listen to music you love; then listen to other kinds of music. When you learn about a range of topics, you can enlarge your vocabulary.
7. Ask questions: If someone uses a word or expression you don’t understand, ask that person to tell you about it.
8. Talk: Talk to friends and family; use a video chat program such as iChat to talk online; have conversations with yourself. Make talk an important part of your day, and you’ll meet and learn new words that you will use as you communicate with others.
9. Listen: Listen during a conversation, lesson, speech, sermon, newscast, play, movie, video; listen to the words others use to convey meaning and communicate ideas. Mull over ideas and words you’ve heard—new words, familiar words—and discover what listening has helped you learn.
10. Visualize words: You can picture, see on the screen of your mind, what you understand. Once you can use meaning and situations to picture new words, you’ll be able to use them when thinking, speaking, reading, and writing.