How to Build Vocabulary in the Classroom

This is the first part in our series, ‘Crosswords in the Classroom’

The days of learning long lists of new words each week through rote memorization are over. Teachers know that an extended vocabulary is important for a strong educational foundation, but it can be difficult to find engaging tools to build it. 

Students need context and to be actively engaged to learn new things, especially new vocabulary. You can improve your student’s vocabulary in the classroom through games and puzzles, reading, and flashcard activities.

Reviewing Vocabulary with Games and Puzzles

There are a lot of different games and puzzles available to help students improve their vocabulary. Using games in the classroom can make learning more enjoyable, which increases engagement in the material. However, it’s important to keep your educational objective in mind no matter the game or activity.

Crosswords in particular can be an effective learning tool for students of all ages. A study from The Language Institute in Bangkok showed that crossword puzzles helped improve vocabulary in part by creating a positive learning environment. While puzzles are fun to solve, they can also be used to develop problem solving skills to learn and to review new words.

When creating crosswords for students, it’s important to be able to customize the puzzle for the students’ level and needs. My Crossword Maker is a great resource for teachers who want to incorporate these strategies in their classroom in a customizable way. 

Expanding Vocabulary through Reading

Reading is one of the best ways to build vocabulary. Studies have shown time and again that reading is crucial for a child’s educational success.

Teachers should not limit their options to books. They can choose short stories, poems and news articles. In today’s technological world, there are plenty of digital resources to choose from. No matter the subject, keep your students reading!

Flashcard Activities for Vocabulary Practice

Although it might seem old school, flashcards can be a great tool for learning new words. However, when using flashcards, don’t just give your students a bunch of new words and tell them to memorize them. Take advantage of the spacing effect, which shows that studying is more effective when the study sessions are spaced out. 

If you don’t want to spend hours creating flashcards, check out My FlashCard Maker to build them on your own quickly.

Variety is Essential

Don’t limit yourself to only one of these learning tools. By using a variety of reinforcement techniques , your students will build a stronger vocabulary, and hopefully enjoy the process of learning.

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