1. When your youth comes home with vocabulary to study, have them make their own flashcards by looking up vocabulary words online and finding pictures that illustrate the definitions. Have them print the picture, glue it on a card, write a silly sentence under the picture to help them remember the word, and write the definition on the back. If you don't have internet access, have them get creative and draw the pictures themselves!
2. Use these handmade flashcards to make a word wall in your dining room or kitchen, where these new vocabulary words can be read and discussed daily.
3. Turn children (teens might get into this, also) into vocabulary word detectives! Change a few flashcards on the word wall every day and offer prizes, like extra points or grab bag tickets, if they can figure out what words changed. Every day, they'll rush in to find what's changed and they'll be actively engaged with reviewing the words on a daily basis.
4. Stick a slip of paper on the refrigerator. On that paper, list five vocabulary words. Offer an incentive, like extra points or stickers on a chart, every time your young scholars use that word correctly in a sentence during normal conversation.
5. Use sign language. Print out a copy of the signing alphabet and have your youths finger-spell their homework vocabulary words. Not only will they learn to spell those words, they will gain a life skill in the process!
6. Use color to illustrate vocabulary words. Studies show that we remember color first and content second, so highlight or use colorful markers and pens to write out vocabulary words and their definitions. Use different colors to make key words of the definition stand out and to help youth remember the meaning of words.
7. Break vocabulary words into chunks. Ever wonder why telephone numbers are fairly easy to memorize? It's because they are broken up into three separate chunks of numbers that can be memorized individually. Vocabulary words, too, can be split into smaller chunks, making it easier for students to remember their spelling.
8. Put the words to music! Ever notice how you can easily remember the words to The Itsy Bitsy Spider and other songs you may not have sung since childhood? That's because the rhythm and rhyme of music helps you to remember the lyrics. This idea can be used to help young scholars to memorize vocabulary words by turning the words' definitions into song lyrics or by writing lyrics using sentences that put the words into an easy to understand context.
9. Have your child study often for short amounts of time. Just like muscles need frequent exercise to grow stronger, the brain needs frequent study sessions to recall information to its full potential. Studying for even ten minutes every day for a week before a test is much more successful in aiding recall and recognition than studying for hours the night before.
10. Sleep on it! Studies have found that studying right before bedtime aids memorization. When sleeping, a person's brain processes the last thing they thought about or did before going to sleep. So, students will remember vocabulary words better if studying is the last thing they do before going to bed.
This article was written by Susan Fitzell. To get more great advice from Susan Fitzell, visit her website at: http://susanfitzell.com