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How to Teach Vocabulary Effectively

Peace is a high school- level educator and a writer that is dedicated to creating engaging contents for online platforms.


We continue to learn and improve our vocabulary throughout our lives. It's not just about reading, speaking, listening, and writing but a general knowledge of all subjects. Vocabulary is indeed improved through daily interaction but it's also important that it is taught in a detailed and clear manner. Students need to know the meaning of the words they are using and how to use them correctly.

As the world has become digital it's is important to be able to communicate effectively. Even with the help of Autocorrect, you still have to be able to choose your words and how they would fit whichever message you are trying to get across.

Things you should know to teach vocabulary.

It's a known fact that there are three Tiers of vocabulary. Knowing these levels will help teachers to know words that are suitable for their class.

Tier 1 are high-frequency words. They are basic words that are encountered daily and they barely need detailed teaching because most students are already familiar with these words. They include: Little, friend, garden, mum, down, called, house, could, ,children help, people, look.

Tier 2 words are a bit complex and need to be taught clearly for students to understand. They are the important words for students to learn so that they can understand contexts and instructions in school and beyond. Effective use of these words is a measure of students' success in school and it shows an understanding of the language. They include grasp, capacity, variable, Enormous, apostrophe, coincidence, industrious, benevolent, retrospect.

Tier 3 words are subject–specific words like a graph, calculation, equivalent, horizontal, Diagrams are words for the mathematics field. Words like Fiction, morphology, hyperbole, abbreviation, acronym, Genre, figurative, and creative are words found in the linguistics and literature field. Words like Sentence, advocacy, trial, evidence, jury, judge, court are words for the law field. Words like outbreak, patient, cardiologist, oncologist, pediatrician, positive, disease are words for the health field. Since some of these words may appear in other tiers, they must be taught clearly in the context of their purpose.

Vocabulary building

New words appearing in the passages are taught through a variety of exercises. These exercises should be supplemented by dictionary work where the meanings of the new words are read aloud and noted.

In addition, vocabulary growth is encouraged and guided through exercises based on recognizing and building upon word roots, prefixes, and suffixes. The purpose of Prefix, Suffix, and Affix and how they change word meaning should be taught and explored using numerous root words as examples.

The teacher is expected to be actively involved in oral exercises. It is hoped that the teacher would be able to:

1 Help students understand and master each vocabulary by a process of self-discovery.

2 Develop their interest in written work as all the graded exercises are meant to be written and

3 develop in them the art of independent study.

Students should understand the need for a rich vocabulary. Demonstrate the benefit of a rich vocabulary to students.

Exploring new words should be made a classroom routine. Pictorial demonstration of the word helps students remember them. And at the end of the week. Correct Pronunciation of the word is important to equip students with the ability to spell new vocabulary.

Give multiple meanings of the word and how they can be used in diverse contexts to allow students to relate to the word.

Words with multiple meanings can be confusing for students. Give explicit teaching in this kind of words to clarify students understanding.

3 ways of mastering vocabulary

1. Do and Learn

By following and doing graded exercises, students will learn the rules governing the use of vocabulary and various language structures. They will benefit notruf they follow the instructions closely. It is, therefore, important that the teacher ensures that instructions are followed. He should insist that the pupils put an exercise in writing and show their wit to him before thru proceed to the next exercise.

This approach helps achieve three goals. Firstly, it makes the students actively involved in the learning process. Secondly, it enables them to discover errors before they are internalized. Finally, it helps them to grasp and master the vocabulary that have been learned.

2. Game Time

In this aspect of Vocabulary, the pupils are expected to work together as a class by playing some games. And at the end of the week, they can use the new words to create poems, songs, and short stories.

The aims of these games are to:

1 reinforce understanding of the vocabulary learned.

2 Correct any training-induced errors

3 develop team spirit

4 develop leadership qualities and

5. Make the learning of vocabulary a pleasurable exercise. Encourage students to share new words they've learned and how to use the words in various context

3. Homework.

Students should have an opportunity to master new words through reading, writing, and speaking. Making students use the new words they've learned and retained them can be done through pictorial representation and real-life materials. students are expected to do in their spare time the assignment at the end of each language structure section. The more they see and use these words, the more it sticks. Lexis exercise with new words is a good way to make it stick. The aim is to reinforce understanding of the essentials of the vocabulary studied.

Some teachers are overwhelmed by the daily activities of the classroom and the teaching of vocabulary is not given attention. They merely provide independent study materials such as dictionary for their students. However, teachers need to support students in vocabulary building by teaching explicitly.

10 tips to improve vocabulary.

Read books regularly.

Learn at least two new words daily.

Get a dictionary.

Play word games.

Make answering Lexis exercise a habit.

Converse regularly.

Write about your daily activities.

Watch Tv and English movies.

Listen to fellow English learners.

Learn prefixes and Suffixes.

Take this vocabulary test quiz.

For each question, choose the best answer for you.

  1. The manager was noted everywhere for his ---- to duty
    • Devotion
    • Application
    • Ability
  2. The judge -----the drug peddlers
    • Convicted
    • Acquitted
    • Arrested
  3. He was -----to grant my request
    • Reluctant
    • Disposed
    • Slow
  4. The police------ the suspect
    • Apprehended
    • Stopped
    • Capture
  5. The auditors discovered some ------- of the school's record
    • Falsifications
    • Dissatisfication
    • Confrontations


Use the scoring guide below to add up your total points based on your answers.

  1. The manager was noted everywhere for his ---- to duty
    • Devotion: +5 points
    • Application: +0 points
    • Ability: +0 points
  2. The judge -----the drug peddlers
    • Convicted: +5 points
    • Acquitted: +0 points
    • Arrested: +0 points
  3. He was -----to grant my request
    • Reluctant: +5 points
    • Disposed: +0 points
    • Slow: +0 points
  4. The police------ the suspect
    • Apprehended: +5 points
    • Stopped: +0 points
    • Capture: +0 points
  5. The auditors discovered some ------- of the school's record
    • Falsifications: +0 points
    • Dissatisfication: +0 points
    • Confrontations: +0 points

Interpreting Your Score

A score between 0 and 6 means: Not bad!

A score between 7 and 12 means: Good!

A score between 13 and 16 means: Very Good!

A score between 17 and 18 means: Your vocabulary is top notch. Excellent!

A score between 19 and 20 means: Your vocabulary is top notch. Excellent!

© 2021 Peace Tobe Dike


Peace Tobe Dike (author) from Delta State, Nigeria. on May 14, 2021:

You're weclome, Tina.

Tina Mogs on May 13, 2021:

This is such an easy way to teach vocabulary... Thanks for sharing.

Peace Tobe Dike (author) from Delta State, Nigeria. on May 08, 2021:

Hi Ravi,

It's nice you found this useful...thank you for reading... blessings.

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on May 07, 2021:

Very useful article Tobz. In fact vocabulary is something that one should learn and expand throughout life. The tips you have given here are very valuable .Thanks for sharing.

Peace Tobe Dike (author) from Delta State, Nigeria. on May 07, 2021:

Hi Misbah,.Thank you very much..we never stop learning.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on May 07, 2021:

Very nice suggestions and tips, Tobe

I love this quote, Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can; there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.- thanks for sharing this with us

Blessings and Love

Peace Tobe Dike (author) from Delta State, Nigeria. on May 07, 2021:

Thank you, Amara

Amara from Pakistan on May 07, 2021:

Interesting article..

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