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What Are the Different Ways to Practice Vocabulary?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

There are many different ways a person can practice vocabulary. He may, for example, practice vocabulary through conversation or through his writing. In such a case, he could put effort into using words that he does not normally use and adding new words he has learned into his conversation or writing. He might also use online and offline vocabulary exercises to practice. In fact, he may even find some fun quizzes that are useful for building vocabulary.

One of the easiest ways a person can practice vocabulary involves incorporating the words he needs to practice into normal conversation. There are usually many different ways a person can say the same thing. As such, he can choose to use the words he needs to practice rather than the words he would normally use in conversation. This method of practicing is likely to prove much more effective, however, if the individual strives to incorporate the words in a natural-sounding way instead of just forcing the words into his speech.

Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

Writing can also prove a good way to practice one's vocabulary. An individual can incorporate the words he needs to practice into a variety of different types of writing. For instance, he can incorporate vocabulary words into letters and postcards to friends and family members as well as quick notes he leaves for the people who live with him — he can use various vocabulary words in emails as well. If the individual is a student, he can also incorporate vocabulary words into his homework assignments in order to get plenty of practice with them. As with conversational practice, it is usually important to focus on natural use when it comes to practicing through writing.

In addition to practicing on his own through conversation and writing, a person may also find practice resources on the Internet. For example, he could search for vocabulary builder exercises online. Some of these exercises may require payment before use, but many free versions also can be found. In fact, he may even find free quizzes and tests that not only allow him to get vocabulary practice online, but also allow him to test his knowledge of proper word use.

An individual can also practice vocabulary with the help of books. For example, he may find completing vocabulary worksheets and using related workbooks helpful. In fact, he may also find books that contain puzzles and riddles helpful for practicing and building his vocabulary.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a WiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Learn more...
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a WiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments


I make it a point to keep vocabulary instruction books in the car for my kids. These are workbooks that are filled with different vocabulary and spelling games.

I keep these in the pockets of the van seats, so my kids can easily reach them when they are riding in the car.

We have about a 30 minute drive to and from the house each, so this gives them time to work on helpful games like this.

Sometimes they are playing games on an electronic device or watching a movie, but I always make sure they also get some good fun, educational time in as well.

I think this has helped both of my kids become better readers and pick up on grammar skills a lot easier than some kids do. When you understand basic vocabulary, this just makes reading much easier.

Everything in life will be easier if you are a good reader and understand what the words mean.


I am an English teacher, so learning and practicing vocabulary words is important to me. I have always been an avid reader and I think this is one of the best ways to improve your vocabulary.

If I am reading something and come across a word I don't know, I make a point to write it down and look it up. It will drive me crazy to wonder what the word means. Usually I have a pretty good idea because of the context of the book, but sometimes I have been quite surprised.

When I was in college, I made it a point to learn and use one new word a week. I tried to pick a word that was interesting and not something that people would really look at me weird when I started using it in a normal conversation.


On the weekends, my husband and I enjoy working the puzzles in the paper. Over a leisurely breakfast we will work on the Jumble and crossword puzzle together.

We have found the longer we do this, the easier it becomes and the better grasp we have on vocabulary words. We always keep a dictionary close by to look up the meaning of the words we don't know.

Sometimes we have to cheat and use the internet, but using our own brain power is a lot more challenging.


I think that any age is a good age to practice your vocabulary and learn new words. We have received the Reader's Digest magazine for many years, and every month they have a section in there to test your word power.

When I pick up this magazine, this is one of the first things I look for. It is a challenge for me to see which words I know, and which ones I have never heard of before. Sometimes I do really well on the test, and other months I only know a few of the vocabulary words.

What I find interesting is that I think I have a vague idea of what a word might mean, but many times I have been way off the mark. Just because I am familiar with a word doesn't necessarily mean I know what it means.

I think I enjoy playing vocabulary games like this because I have always enjoyed reading and writing. Words are very powerful ways of expressing ourselves and learning.

It doesn't hurt anybody to learn new words every now and then.


Obviously, the best vocabulary activity out there is reading - often and over a period of years. You may wind up learning a lot of words you don't know how to pronounce, but you can always fix that later.

But you can and should also try to learn new words through study. As a classroom teacher, I use games with my students that other teachers might want to try or that might be adaptable for small study groups.

One was vocab bingo. You can draw your own card; it will have twenty-five spaces (five by five) filled in with target words. The reader then reads the definition of the word and you mark that space; first one to get five in a row wins.

The other one I just call the "flyswatter game." Two contestants are armed with flyswatters and the target words are written on a whiteboard or chalkboard. The reader reads the definition and the first contestant to slap the correct word wins a point. (I usually do this in teams in my classroom, but it can be scored many different ways depending on who is playing and what their needs are.)


@fify-- Maybe you should get a software CD to practice your vocabulary. I know about the free exercises online and although they do help, I think software vocabulary workshops are much better. Plus, they are made specifically for different age groups and for different needs.

My eight year old son works on his vocabulary software several times a week and he is doing excellent, much better than kids his age. The great part about the software is that it makes practicing vocabulary, or any other subject really, more fun.

Many of the exercises have a game sort of feel to them so my son doesn't get bored. Boredom is probably the main issue with practicing vocabulary.


I'm preparing to take the SAT and have been practicing vocabulary through online exercises.

Unfortunately, most vocabulary exercises associated with tests like SAT and GRE cost money. In fact, many of these sites lure you in and then request a fee to do the exercises or to order the exercises on a CD.

My mom offered to buy me software with vocabulary practice activities but I've already spent a lot on books and CDs to prepare for the test. So I wanted to study the vocabulary part for free. I have found several good, free vocabulary exercises online. I just hope that the vocab words these exercises go through will be more or less the same as the ones on the SAT.


When I was in school, I had to practice vocabulary for tests and I use to do it with note-cards. When I had a vocabulary test coming up, I would make note-cards with the vocabulary words on one side and the definitions on the other. I would take the cards with me everywhere and go through them whenever I got the chance to. This was a good way to remember them.

Now, I don't need to do that as there is no test. But I still like to expand my vocabulary and remember the ones I've learned. I think watching movies, especially DVDs is an excellent way to do this. When I hear a word I don't know while watching a DVD, I often pause it and look it up. No only does this give me a context to understand what the word means and how it's used. But it also helps me remember the word because I will associate it with that scene in the movie.

I'm a film buff and watch DVDs regularly so this is the best way for me to practice vocabulary.

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