5 Ways to Build a Better Vocabulary

5 Ways to Build a Better Vocabulary

Using a the­matic approach, pre­dict­ing the mean­ings of words, devel­op­ing wordlists of unfa­mil­iar words, using vocab­u­lary and learn­ing the mean­ings of words from word parts are ways to build a bet­ter vocabulary.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (ver­sion 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Down­load the lat­est ver­sion here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Vocab­u­lary build­ing is enjoy­able and sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits are asso­ci­ated with increased word power. Appre­ci­at­ing the impor­tance of words will enrich your aca­d­e­mic life and help you be a bet­ter informed citizen.

Use a the­matic approach

Use read­ing mate­r­ial such as news­pa­per arti­cles or busi­ness reports to dis­cover new words and their mean­ing from their con­text. The the­matic approach pro­vides a high-interest con­text for learn­ing new words.

Prac­tice pre­dict­ing the mean­ing of a word

Pre­dict­ing before look­ing at its def­i­n­i­tion helps develop con­text cues to deter­mine a word’s mean­ing. Cues include syn­onyms, antonyms, exam­ples and gen­eral meaning.

Develop wordlists of unfa­mil­iar words

Look up the pro­nun­ci­a­tion, part of speech and def­i­n­i­tion of each unfa­mil­iar word. Use flash cards for dif­fi­cult words and review them each day.

Use vocab­u­lary

Use words, includ­ing those from the wordlist, in activ­i­ties such as draw­ing, act­ing, match­ing or com­plet­ing sto­ries. Select a style such as visual, aural or inter­per­sonal that suits your learn­ing style. This helps think about the mean­ing of words and use words actively.

Learn the mean­ings of words from word parts

Inter­act learn­ing with words to avoid mak­ing learn­ing new words a chore. Word parts include pre­fixes, roots and suffixes.


Olsen, A. & Biley, P. (2002). Active Vocab­u­lary. Addi­son Wes­ley Long­man, Inc. New York, U.S.A.


Literacy Skills

  • http://jennicat.allergiesaid.com/2011/11/02/thematic-learning/ The­matic learn­ing | Jennicat

    […] 5 Ways to Build a Bet­ter Vocabulary […]