People with with paltry vocabularies not only have more trouble writing and understanding what they read, they are limited in their abilities to formulate deep and complex thoughts.
Meanwhile, a rich vocabulary gives a person ample fodder with which to compose thoughts and develop sophisticated reasoning.
Vocabulary development is not just for school, not just for the SAT and ACT, not just for students. It’s a terrific way to promote brain health by staying mentally active. Plus, vocabulary study helps people of every age to stay connected to literature, science and current events, because the more words you know, the easier and more enjoyable reading is. Vocab study ought to be a lifelong habit!
I’m on a campaign this summer to get my students AND their parents working on increasing their vocabularies.
Vocab study can be easy and fun. I’m a big fan of Vocabulary.com, a free, easy and powerful tool that makes it simple to study ten words a day in only a few minutes time.
Create a free account (you will receive a word-of-the-week, but no barrage of annoying promotional e-mails), select a vocab list, click on LEARN THIS LIST, and you’ll be quizzed in sets of ten words, in a variety of formats and contexts.
The assortment of word presentations on Vocabulary.com is great practice for the variety of questions found on the SSAT, SAT, ACT, GRE and other standardized tests making it an ideal tool for high school and college students. This format also improves recall and helps rehearse critical reading skills.
The students in my SAT class will be working on our Amazing SAT Vocab List You can also browse for other lists geared for younger students, or lists for specific books (extremely helpful when reading a challenging book!) or work on the Vocab.com Top 1000, or create your own list.
Quizlet.com is another popular site for flipping online flash cards. Here’s a great list of 100 words to get you started. I also really like their test generator; just click on the blue box marked TEST and Quizlet will create a test for you, and then score it and give you a grade! (Frequently testing yourself is one of the top most effective ways to learn, and you need not show your “grades” to anyone).
The best way to make any habit stick is to perform the new habit side-by-side with a well-established routine, such as eating breakfast. Pour your Cheerios, then click on Vocab.com and learn those ten new words as you chomp; in 20-40 days the vocab habit should “stick.”
The idea is this: Use this summer to create a vocabulary habit. It will pay off in innumerable ways, over a lifetime!
[photo of sidewalk in front of the New York City Public Library, main branch]