Vocabulary Development

Excerpt from Prufrock’s Gifted Child Information Blog – Vocabulary Development for Gifted

Advanced vocabulary development is essential for students for many reasons. It not only helps students excel at college admissions tests, it also helps them succeed in a wide variety of endeavors. For example:

  • Increasing students’ vocabulary encourages them to use more descriptive words when writing or speaking and enables them to communicate their thoughts more clearly.
  • Understanding the meaning of a wide range of words allows students to comprehend their reading more easily, thus increasing their retention.
  • Having a larger vocabulary helps students’ verbal communication flow and helps them to avoid making unnecessary noises such as “umm” and “uhh” when they speak.
  • Using richer and more colorful words helps students project a more intelligent image.
  • Having the right vocabulary for planning and solving problems helps students maximize their thinking skills.

There are many ways that students can increase their storehouse of words.

  • Students can increase their vocabularly significantly by reading widely and actively, noticing and looking up new words as they read. Students should also seek out classics and other books that require them to pay close attention and think deeply about language and ideas.
  • Students looking for a fun and relaxing way to learn new words should try playing crossword puzzles and word games. These activities help students to not only learn new words, but also learn alternative meanings for words.
  • Students wishing to deepen their vocabulary further should study the meanings of root words, as well as prefixes and suffixes. These devices help students guess the meaning of words that they do not already know. They also help students gain a broad understanding of language.
  • Students who wish to experiment with the words that they use on paper should try using a thesaurus when they write. They will not only learn new words this way, but they will also gain a richer appreciation for choosing the right word in a sentence.

The following websites represent just a few of the online activities that encourage students’ vocabulary development:

  • FunBrain: Rooting Out Words has good exercises for students in elementary and middle school.
  • English Games features a variety of vocabulary games for all ages, ranging from simple games for elementary school students to advanced games and quizzes for high school students who are studying for the SAT and ACT.
  • Number2.com offers free online test preparation, including a vocabulary builder. This website includes practice sessions that adapt to a student’s ability level. The website requires students to set up a free account.
  • SuperKids: PSAT and SAT Vocabulary Flashcards and Matching Games allows students to study and learn more than 1,000 words that are frequently found on the PSAT and SAT exams.
  • Word Games From Merriam-Webster has more than a dozen different online word games that students may enjoy.