Vocabulary self-study activities

Here are some tips you can give your students to help them with their vocabulary acquisition and self study.

Elisabeth Boeck

Make your own word box

  • Use one card per word, with the English on one side and a translation on the other.
  • Test yourself with the cards, sort them into categories, play games with them.

Find a good basic vocabulary word list

  • Look for a list between 1000 and 2000 words which are sorted according to topic areas.
  • Revise eight words per day regularly. In your mind, try to lock the particular word onto an image for it (e.g. for influenza, think of a person sneezing).
  • To practise, randomly pick a number of words and make up a simple, but probably crazy, story using the words. You can do the same with the words in your vocabulary box.

Have a good general attitude towards learning words

  • Note down all new words.
  • 'Fish for language' by going through life with an open eye and attentive ear.
  • 'Soliloquize', i.e. translate along in your mind silently, when:
    • you are doing things (as if you were speaking to an imaginary friend by your side).
    • you are listening to the news.
    • you watch people doing something.
    • you see any object around.
  • Read aloud to yourself from printed text.
  • Increase your exposure to words with:
    • TV and radio
    • books, magazines and newspapers
    • films
    • songs
  • Correspond with an English-speaking pen-friend.
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