You are using the web browser we don't support. Please upgrade or use a different browser to improve your experience.
"icon arrow top"
Back to blog articles

How to Improve Student Vocabulary

By Ryan Crawley,

24 Jan 2020

The more time you spend around students, the more you probably have recognized that their vocabulary mostly seems to be pretty basic.

Whether they are speaking or writing, they tend to use the same words over and over.

To say they have a limited vocabulary overall can be kind for some students.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

It is not rocket science when trying to figure out how to better your vocabulary whether you are a student or an adult.

Below are a few tips on how you can start increasing your students’ vocabulary quickly. The New Word a Day Game There was once a famous entertainer that was interested in improving himself, so he would learn one new word a day and try to use it as often as possible to ensure that he would be able to keep it in his repertoire.

The good news is that he said it actually helped immensely.

He would grab the word for the day out of the dictionary, but with all of these apps and websites nowadays, it is much simpler to choose a word rather than carrying around a dictionary with you at all times.

Choose a word a day and write it on the board along with the definition.

Instruct students to use this word at least three times during the next 24 hours.

Be sure to talk the next day with the students on whether they failed this attempt or succeeded. Download a Thesaurus App Students use their phones for everything in today’s day and age.

They carry around in their pocket more technology than the first astronauts used to get to the moon.

With this in mind, they might as well use their phones to improve their vocabulary as well.

Ask them to download a thesaurus app on their phone and use it during their writing.

Tell them to not use any adjective more than twice in a paper.

This will lead to them expanding their vocabulary greatly as they try to avoid falling into the limited vocabulary trap. Increase Their Reading Time Many people mistakenly believe that we learn most of our new vocabulary words through conversation.

This isn’t the case for most of us.

We actually learn more new words from reading.

It does not matter if it is reading for pleasure or for a school purpose, we all come across words that we either don’t know or don’t use often.

And then the more we read them, the better the likelihood that they will be a permanent fixture in our own vocabulary.

It is key, though, that they understand the meanings behind the words.

If they can’t gather it from context clues, have them look up the definitions through their dictionary and thesaurus apps. Play Word Games Have you played Scrabble recently? Probably not.

But there is a very good chance that you have played Words With Friends, an app for your phone or computer that is exactly like Scrabble but done entirely online.

Playing these word games will eventually broaden a person’s vocabulary.

If it doesn’t, then they will be doing a whole lot of losing. Have Vocabulary Quizzes Become a Weekly Thing Whether it is matching up synonyms/antonyms or whole definitions, having a vocabulary quiz every week based on words that the class comes across while reading together is a good idea.

Just add it to your routine in the classroom and do it every Friday.

The students will get used to it and so will you. Just by merely adding these helpful suggestions to your classroom rituals, your students’ vocabulary skills will begin to grow quickly.

It is never too late to add a thesaurus-like vocabulary whether your students are still in elementary, junior high, high school, or college.