Learning and Remembering New Vocabulary

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Learning new vocabulary is easy. Remembering new vocabulary is much more difficult. This is what my students tell me all the time. Experts who study memory say that we need to hear or see or use a new word at least 50 times before we can actually "own" the word ourselves. So here's some tips to help you remember the new English words that you learn: Tip #1

Write your new words on sticky notes and put them in prominent places in your house or office - next to the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator or kitchen cabinets, or on your computer monitor or locker at work. This way you will see the words frequently and improve your ability to keep them in your memory. Tip #2

Write your new words in a notebook and review them for 5 minutes every day until you have mastered the words. Tip #3
Make flashcards for your new words and study them every day until you have mastered the words. Tip #4
Take 3 or 4 new words and try to write a sentence or paragraph that includes all of them and still makes sense. This is what's called a "holistic" approach to learning vocabulary because it requires that you use your whole brain, and this helps you to remember the words. Tip #5

Experts say that we store words in "schema" structures. For example, in our schema for "restaurant," we store a multitude of words, like: table, waitress, waiter, cook, food, chair, menu, check, tip, etc. In our schema for hospitals, we store words like: doctor, nurse, bed, surgery, needle, medicine, pills, etc. So put your new vocabulary words into schemas, and you will have an easier time remembering them. |Joan Pougiales, Ph.D. has taught English as a Second Language for over 30 years to college-bound students in |[pic] | |the U.S., as well as to adult immigrants and refugees. Her web site is devoted to helping refugees and | | |immigrants, beginning and intermediate students, to learn English and succeed in their new lives in the U.S. | | |Visit her at...
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