Learning and using new vocabulary is an area of the curriculum that is often neglected by high school students using online learning programs such as eTutor. Sometimes students and parents are not sure of how to use new vocabulary words or words they are not familiar with. Practicing vocabulary and word usage skills will help students go far beyond the particular subject or topic they are working on.
Vocabulary is essential to comprehension. Students need to apply strategies before, during and after reading to understand the written word. New words should be reviewed and used in a variety of ways. Students might use the following ideas to build and extend their vocabulary skills:
- Use definitions of words to create word riddles.
- Group words based on similarities and/or differences.
- Draw pictures that illustrate the vocabulary word.
- Play a variation of the card game, Go Fish. Prepare a deck of word cards with five or more sets of four related words in each set. Duplicate the cards so that at least each student has a deck for the game. Try to build sets of like words, ie, antonyms, synonyms, nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.
- Go beyond definitions in the dictionary. Explore ways to describe the associations that cluster around the word.
- Choose a vocabulary word and then answer the following questions: How would a scientist describe this word? How would a judge describe this word? How would a poet describe this word? How would you describe this word?
Organize a collection of words:
- Reference Book: Create vocabulary pages for a three-ring binder.
- Word Wall: Display collected words and definitions on a bulletin board.
- Word File: Record words, definitions, and context-rich sentences on index cards. Place them in a recipe box that organizes the words alphabetically.
Students should not skip this important skill work. Learning new vocabulary is essential to learning.