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Tutor Tip of the Month

Vocabulary Expanding Activities

Continually expanding our vocabularies is a daily practice.

  • Pick a new word each day:

A learner could commit to learning one word each day. The word can be picked at random from the dictionary or newspaper, or you can work with the learner to prepare a list of words for him or her to practice, one day at a time, between tutoring sessions. Brainstorm what he or she can do to make the word of the day belong to the learner and as time goes on, discuss what techniques are most successful. To help with retention, develop an exercise to bring together all the words of the week.

  • Another use for address books:

Read Santa Clara is among the programs that have found success encouraging learners to use address books to keep track of new or commonly used words. Utilizing the books’ alphabetical organization, words can be listed simply in the letter beginning the word, or words related to a certain topic can be kept together under that topic. (For example, Health could be listed under “H” and include vocabulary needed at the doctor’s office or pharmacy, and when filling out health insurance forms.)

  • Start with the root:

Did you know that the root of the word “dictionary” is “dict” which means “to speak”? Knowing common roots of words can help us expand our vocabularies by giving us tools with which to approach new words.

A few web sites with guides to roots and ways to practice with them are:

  • Make it a game:

You can take new words and turn them into a game, such as a word search or crossword puzzle. One free online puzzle-making tool is:

Enjoy your word play! 

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