Improve your English: vocabulary retention

Students have endless possibilities when learning vocabulary. As individuals we have a variety of different learning styles and preferences for how we internalise information. Most of us use a combination of the following:

Some remember vocabulary by saying the words out loud.
Some need to see an image or see the spelling
Some need to associate a word in their native language that sounds familiar
Some need to physically do the action
Some need to write the words down
Some create stories/songs/chants/raps/poems/etc. connecting all the vocabulary coherently
Some re-use vocabulary in several different contexts
Some group vocabulary together and draw mind maps or make word clouds
Some make word families. e.g. Happy/happiness/Unhappy/Joy/Good mood
Some physically stick written vocabulary onto the matching physical objects at home or at work.

Tips and Recomendations

  • Like all other skills mentioned, the most useful way to remember language items long-term is to actively and consciously revise them again and again. You train yourself to revise items the next day, then a week later and then a month later and so on. This process is partly a simulation of living in an English speaking country because you are actively re-using language. The process is obviously slower because access is limited but you can expose yourself to English as little or as often as you want. You are in control.

Look at the following websites for alternative dictionary work:

Or perhaps websites for expanding and enriching your array of vocabulary whilst at the same time checking common errors and false friends, or homophones and homographs:

Or even if you need to learn specific vocabulary for work or academic purposes

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Liz McFarland

Lingüística e innovadora en educación, con más de 10 años de experiencia en formación de lengua inglesa.

Una Familia Online: Ideas, sugerencias y fuente de inspiración para familias activas.

Aprende ingles por tu cuenta– Increasing vocabulary retention

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