Vocabulary development techniques should actively involve the learner as much as possible. Students understand and retain better those things that they have experienced most directly and have been involved in analyzing and discussing. Encouraging use in spoken and written language of the vocabulary terms that are receiving attention is therefore a good idea.
One active method of learning word meanings is through conversations with the teacher and other students about a topic to which the words are related. (1)
Besides, one of the most effective ways to work with words and word meanings is to place the words into categories. By seeing the relationships among many familiar words and the new words, students are able to build connections between new information and prior knowledge. Arranging words in categories is also one way to develop the thinking skill of classifying. (2)
Teachers can use a children’s game like “Animals” or “Vegetables”, in which one person thinks of an item and the others try to identify it by first determining the general category and then asking questions about it that can be answering by “YES” or “NO”. If the item is not identified in a specified number of questions, the questioner had lost, the other player identifies the item and then thinks of another item, and the game begins again. This game might be played in the classroom with new vocabulary terms being interspersed with familiar words. (3)
Another interesting game is word webs. The construction of word webs is a good way to examine many characteristics of words and their meanings and relationships with other words. Let us suppose the students were preparing to read a story about a circus. Exploring the term “circus” before the reading begins will bring out the things the learners have already known about the circus and will meaningfully relate things that they know with things that other children know. The discussion that accompanies building the web is good...