7 Best Sources for New Vocabulary

7 Best Sources for New Vocabulary

Susan Verner
by Susan Verner 24,445 views

Try These 7 Best Sources for New Vocabulary with Your Students

  1. 1

    It's Black and White

    Use a newspaper or magazine to teach new vocabulary. Have students choose one unfamiliar word from an advertisement or headline, cut it out, and illustrate that word on a separate piece of paper or in their vocabulary notebooks.

  2. 2

    Play the Game

    Games like Scrabble, Scattergories, Balderdash and Boggle give you a chance to introduce your students to new and unfamiliar vocabulary words. Leave these games in a corner of your classroom for independent study periods or play in groups or as a class, either on rainy days or the day before vacation. Consider not keeping score, but challenge yourself to play words your students do not know.

  3. 3


    Movies and television are great sources for realistic dialogue. Your students can find not only situational vocabulary but slang expressions as well when they look to the big screen. Show short clips in class multiple times and challenge students to listen for specific or unfamiliar words or expressions on the second or third time through.

  4. 4

    That’s Your Opinion

    Ask students about their areas of interests, and then give them vocabulary that they can use in those situations. For example, a student may enjoy theater, video games or cooking. Each of these interests uses lingo, or vocabulary specific to that topic. When you give your students words that link to a preexisting interest of theirs, they are more likely to remember the words and use them in real situations.

  5. 5

    Listen Up

    Listen up, that is, listen in on conversations between native speakers. Challenge your students to go to a public area and listen to two or more native speakers talking to one another. As they listen, have your students write down any unfamiliar words they hear and then bring those words back for the class to discuss.

  6. 6

    Coffee Talk

    Setting your students up with conversation partners will give them a limitless resource for new vocabulary. If you can, set some class time aside each week or each month to meet with a class of native speakers. Let pairs of students have natural conversation, and challenge your students to write down any unfamiliar words they hear and ask their conversation partner for an explanation.

  7. 7

    By the Book

    Particularly for older or academic bound students, textbooks can be one of the biggest challenges of their post ESL careers. Use textbooks in your class to show your students the types of vocabulary they will need to be familiar with. Collect text books from several different subject areas and then challenge students to read selections from the books and memorize any vocabulary they come across.

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