Increased literacy, SAT/ACT test prep, college prep, general test-taking improvement and increased self-confidence. There are many reasons to work to improve a student’s (or your!) vocabulary.

One of the best ways to improve a student’s vocabulary is to keep what I call simply, a vocabulary journal. This can be a dedicated notebook or sheet of paper on which the student writes down any new word they may come across in their reading that they are not familiar with.


I recommend (unlike my personal example in the picture) students use one line below the new word to write their guess of the definition based on context clues, and another line dedicated to the actual definition once the student has looked it up. It is best to do all these immediately, as the student is reading, instead of trying to look them all up later which can seem overwhelming and out of context.

The next steps involve simple repetition: Every time the student sits down to do homework, have them review their vocab journal for just a few minutes (no more than 10 minutes). If there are certain words the student is struggling with, encourage them to make a flash card for each of those words and review the cards along with homework time, once again for just a few minutes.

If your student puts in the effort, the rewards of an increased vocabulary will certainly pay off!


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