Middle School

Learning Vocabulary

The majority of my students are required to memorize weekly vocabulary lists. Looking at the words and the definitions the night before the test DOES NOT WORK for most students. I suggest studying for vocabulary a little bit each day for several days in a row after putting the words onto note cards. Once you master the process, it is easy to repeat week after week:

1) Write the vocabulary word on the front of the note card. Either draw a picture or cut and paste an image also on the front of the card. The picture provides a visual to help imprint the meaning of the word into long-term memory.

2) On the back of the note card, write the definition of the word, the part of speech, and a sample sentence (most students do not know how to put a new word into a sentence without help. Therefore, a student should use the exact sentence from a dictionary or vocabulary book. Parents may also want to help their children create sentences).

3) A student can quiz himself/herself by looking at the front of the vocabulary cards, reciting the answer, and then flipping the card to check the answer on the back. By preparing the cards in advance, he/she will be ready to hand them over to a parent, babysitter, brother, sister, etc. who can then easily quiz the student.

4) Cards should be saved in an index-card box for future, cumulative exams.

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