If you’re like most of my students, you struggle with learning new vocabulary words and applying them (using them) in your English conversations. In order to successfully learn and use new English vocabulary, you need to be reviewing them in a variety of ways and doing more than just writing down the definition. How can you improve English vocabulary? Today I am sharing 4 ways to do this!
In this week’s “Everyday English” lesson, I share a few common ways to learn and review vocabulary, including some suggestions from the students watching live. Additionally, I go into more detail with 1 activity you can do (today) to improve not only vocabulary but speaking skills, too!
I ask you some questions during the video, so get your notebook ready and let’s learn English!
4 Ways to Improve Vocabulary
Give yourself the opportunity to learn, see, and hear new vocabulary words, and try and surround yourself with new words daily.
The first few may not be anything new to you; however, I want to stress their importance!
1. Watching movies and TV shows
This is a great way to learn because you are able to hear and read (if using subtitles) the new vocabulary in use. You’re able to learn the words in context, by seeing how they are being used naturally. This will give you practice with how to use the word in a sentence immediately!
2. Listening to music
If you read the lyrics of the songs you listen to, you can look for new words as you sing along. This will also allow you to see the words being used in context!
3. Reading books
I recommend finding and defining new vocabulary words before you actually start reading. If you define new words before, then you won’t constantly be stopping and interrupting the chapter. How do you do this? First, skim the pages you are going to read. Allow your eyes to quickly read over (skim) the pages for new words that you don’t recognize. It’s important that you are not actually reading, just running your eyes over the pages to look for new words. Write down the new words you don’t recognize, and then define them. When you finish, you’ll be ready to read the pages uninterrupted and with a better understanding.
4. Using Google Search & Images
Use google images to look for vocabulary related to your interests, your goals, and/or your needs. Let’s get into some more detail here…
Using Google Search & Images to Improve Vocabulary
First think about the reasons that you need to learn English, and make a list of themes, topics, or areas that you need English. For example, do you need it for work, the TOEFL or IELTS exam, for travel or just for fun?
Then you’re going to type some of those topics or themes into the Google search bar and click on “images”. In the video, we used the example of cooking. From the images that we found, we can review common language related to cooking such as food vocabulary, verb vocabulary, etc.. We also looked at common house types which could help for test preparation and questions related to describing your house or city.
So you want to browse through the Google images related to the word that you typed in and try and find pictures with a lot of objects in them that you can practice describing. You want to review more than just individual words, try and create a story about the image, or describe what you see using complete sentences. You can review the examples of this in the video around minute 14.
By describing the picture using complete sentences, you’ll be able to see where you get stuck, or where you are lacking (*don’t have*) the necessary vocabulary. This is where the learning comes in! This week I invite you to our private Facebook group to work on improving your vocabulary together with the English Outside the Box community! If there’s a picture with objects that you don’t recognize or pictures that are difficult to describe, then I want you to share the image in our Facebook group to connect with others and get some help.
If it’s an object that you don’t know in the image, then use description to identify the object and ask for help. For example, you can say: “what is the red thing in the bottom right-hand corner of the image?” Or you could explain that you don’t know how to describe what you see happening in the image and you would like some help.
Use the Facebook group to get some help and also help others! If you see a picture or description that you recognize, help someone out and describe what you see!
Practice Makes Perfect
Your challenge this week is to follow through with the task above using Google Images to improve English vocabulary. Come join the Facebook group and connect with others this week also trying to learn.
I look forward to reading your new words, your challenges, and watching you overcome vocabulary obstacles this week.
Until next time,
Happy Studying! ♥
If you know someone learning Engish, please share this English lesson with them. You can also share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest.