The Importance of Learning Vocabulary

Did you know that having a good vocabulary improves your communication skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking?

Vocabulary helps you think and learn about the world around you. Expanding your knowledge of words broadens your ability to process new information. Learning the subject vocabulary is of great importance for any school or business course, but also just growing your vocabulary will enrich your communication abilities.

Building your knowledge of subject area vocabulary increases testing confidence and reduces your stress no matter what course you are taking. It allows you to focus on the critical thinking aspects of the course or test instead of focusing on your stress. Understanding the test question will help you respond with confidence and that is why it is crucial to learn unit vocabulary for each subject area in school. No one wants to be buffaloed when the teacher asks a question. Understanding WHAT the question is asking will eliminate mistakes as long as you know the content.

Memorizing words and definitions can be a very helpful first step in learning vocabulary, but studying vocabulary words in context is the BEST way to learn vocabulary. Sometimes you may start studying vocabulary as the introduction to a new unit, but it will make better connections in your brain when you use the words in the context of the subject or class. 

Whether you are a student yourself or a parent who wants to encourage a student to learn vocabulary, here are a few tips. Keep a copy of your vocabulary words in your notebook or at your desk. Study 5-10 minutes a day. Read over them just before the class or webinar starts and highlight them in your notes when you read or write. Use good material for your flashcards as poorly written questions or definitions will not help. It’s about technique, not just a fancy app or pretty flashcards. 

Failure to study is the most common problem. Putting in a little time each day will greatly help. Enlist a friend to help you make flashcards or study if you both are taking the same course. Digital or paper flashcards can be used to learn vocabulary. Consider adding thoughtful examples and pictures to your flashcards to help make connections between vocabulary words and concepts. 

By making connections to synonyms, antonyms, and big ideas you are expanding your vocabulary and course content. If you only memorize a list of words and definitions you may find a hole in your ability to fully understand a text or teacher. Even multiple choice tests can require critical thinking skills when vocabulary is applied and synonyms are used.

There is a strong relationship between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. Enlarging your knowledge of words expands your ability to process new information. Even if you are not currently taking a course, challenge yourself to learn new words each week. Serve up a thesaurus at the dinner table or subscribe to the Word of the Day delivered to your inbox. Grow your vocabulary and improve your communication skills. 

Want more learning strategies? Check out this blog post.

Table Talk: What does buffaloed mean? What does synonym mean? What does niggle mean?

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