I. Exercise wide independent reading.
A. Through books
B. Through magazines
C. Through newspapers
II. Keep tools for learning vocabularies handy.
A. Such as pocket dictionaries
B. Such as thesauruses
C. Such as vocabulary notebooks
III. Create a deep interest in word consciousness and awareness.
A. By engaging in word play
B. By exercising the a “word-a-day” routine
C. By developing social interaction
IV. Apply the word learning strategy.
A. By carefully looking at the word: deciding how to pronounce it
B. By looking around the word for context clues
1. Looking within the sentence
2. Rereading previous sentences
3. Reading ahead for more context clues
C. By looking in the word for prefixes and suffixes, base words, and root words that might offer clues
D. By making your best guess at the word’s meaning
E. By making your dictionary as your last result
February 28, 2012
Powerful Ways of Widening Vocabulary
According to Randall Hansen, expanding my knowledge and use of words enables me to communicate (speak and write) more clearly and concisely, makes people understand me more easily, and increases the perception (and reality) that I am an intelligent person. I believe this is true because I have seen and know people, such as my teachers and friends, who discuss in class and talk to me effectively. Now why is vocabulary knowledge important?
Why must we improve on this? Well, do we want to communicate effectively too? In my opinion, we must know that vocabularies are the greatest tools we can use to succeed not only during our academic and educational life, but also generally in life. With this, we must accept the fact that if we only have a limited vocabulary, we cannot understand new ideas and concepts more quickly like people who have large vocabularies. With this, I am going to share four simple ways I have learned on which we can expand our vocabulary. First, we must exercise wide independent reading. And we can exercise this through the common tools we have and can have an easy access to. Essentially, we must read books‒ different kinds such as novels and science fictions. Indeed this is important because my supervisor in high school, Mr. Madarang, whom I interviewed about this topic told me the benefit of reading books.
He claims that reading even one chapter of a book a day can be already of great help to your breakthrough in vocabulary because even without looking up all the vocabularies in a page, context will help you be familiarized with the words. Similarly, magazines are of great help, too because they will give you an idea of what vocabularies are nowadays used through the subjects that are popular and through the modern-day cultural and technological knowledge that is integrated to us. And lastly, newspapers are of great help as well because they help us be introduced to new words professional writers use, and it also helps us understand deep meanings of words that are implied to our country’s political issues as well as the world’s. Second, we must keep tools for learning vocabularies handy. These tools include dictionaries, thesauruses, and vocabulary journals.
These tools can be in print, software, or online, just as long as it is handy. It must be handy because these tools can obviously anytime help us immediately find difficult words we cannot comprehend. Generally, dictionaries are the most important because using these to explore entries is an effective component of finding and understanding a word deeply while it can also determine its precise meaning (Pikulski and Templeton). Furthermore, thesauruses are also important because when we want to use a word we forgot but just remember the general name for it, there will be a great probability of finding better words for it if we look it up there. For example, you want another expression for beautiful. If you look it up in the thesaurus, you will find words such as admirable, angelic, appealing, charming, classy, dazzling, delightful, wonderful, and so on which will help you express what you want to say or write more clearly (Madarang). I believe it also helps us understand complex words because the synonyms of complex words are usually more common and easy to understand.
Also, it helps us not use the same word many times when we are writing because it will have a negative effect on the readers which will keep them from being interested. Finally, vocabulary journals are also important because these are where we can keep track of the words we have already looked up in the dictionary, as it also helps us remind the words we have forgotten that we already know. Third, we must create a deep interest in word consciousness and awareness. To begin with, we can engage in word plays that can help us be interested to learn new words. These are word games that challenge us and help us discover new meanings and new words that are a great and fun tool in our quests for expanding our vocabulary (Hansen). Examples of games include scrabble, crossword puzzles, or even online word-builder games. Next, exercising the a “word-a-day” routine can also help us be interested to learn new words. The a “word-a-day” routine basically focuses on an interesting, challenging word wherein you need to know its meaning and use it within a day.
If a word a day seems to fast a pace, a word every other day or even a word a week will still be beneficial because the main purpose is to create an interest in words, and to teach the meaning of it is just a second purpose (Pikulski and Templeton). Lastly, we must develop social interaction wherein we challenge ourselves to be able to speak with nice flow of words. Challenging ourselves with competitions is probably the most competitive way to be interested in vocabularies because in competitions, everyone learns faster when they are made to speak without thinking and hesitating. Merely learning a different phrase every day, and using it when they can fit it into normal conversation, will bring about a good habit that can be sustained (Some Tips). Lastly, we must apply the word learning strategy. Step 1 includes carefully looking at the word as you decide how to pronounce it.
This is important because thinking about the sounds of the word will at least help you recognize the word in the future. Step 2 includes looking around the word for context clues by looking within the sentence, rereading previous sentences, and reading ahead for more context clues. Step 3 includes looking in the word for prefixes and suffixes, base words, and root words that might offer clues. This is important because when we encounter new words, these prefixes and suffixes, base words, and root words will help us determine its meaning. For example, if we know the prefix “mono” and the prefix “poly”, and the base word is “theism”, we can differentiate “monotheism” and polytheism” as believing only in one god or in many gods.
Step 4 includes making your best guess at the word’s meaning. And lastly, if you really cannot understand the meaning of the word, it is where you will then resort to step 5 wherein you will make your dictionary as your last resort. Exercising wide independent reading, keeping tools for learning vocabularies handy, creating a deep interest in word consciousness and awareness, and applying the word learning strategy are very clear in regarding implications for powerful widening of vocabulary. I believe that if we follow these steps, we’ll accomplish more as it will lead us towards success. Who anyway doesn’t want to be and feel smart? It is really of utmost importance that our vocabulary skills be expanded. We know it will have a great impact on our lives, so let us learn to apply these powerful ways on which we can expand our vocabulary.
Hansen, Randall S. Ph.D. “Easy Ways to Improve and Expand Your Vocabulary: Seven Tips for Learning New Words”. Web. 19 Feb. 2012. Madarang, Manuel. Personal interview. Inside Holy word Academy, Pasig. 17 February 2012. Pikulski, John J., and Shane Templeton. Teaching and Developing Vocabulary: Key to Long-Term Reading Success. U.S.A: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Print. Sedita, Joan. “Effective Vocabulary Instruction.” Insights on Learning Disabilities. Web. 20 Feb. 2012.
Some Tips to Advance the Vocabulary While Widening the Knowledge. Web. 19 Feb 2012.