Ways to teach sight words

5 Ways to Make Learning Sight Words Easier for Your Kids | Scholastic

You probably don’t remember learning how to read words like the, is, and am. But these so-called “sight words” that you now read every day (without even noticing!) can actually be quite challenging for children to learn. However, they're crucial to reading success. 

In simple terms, sight words are commonly-used words that children are encouraged to memorize by sight, so they instantly recognize them in a text without having to take the time to sound them out. That’s especially helpful for the many sight words that don’t follow normal phonetic rules, and can’t be sounded out.

“When children can read sight words quickly, they are more fluent readers and can better comprehend a text,” says Laura Mossa, an elementary school reading specialist at Baltimore County Public Schools. She adds that one classic study found that up to 75 percent of the words used in text geared toward young readers are sight words.

Here are five ways to make learning sight words easier for your child, and tools that will help you along the way. 

Tip 1: Expose your child to sight words early on.  

It's never too early to start reading regularly with your child (it will boost their language development and reading skills, and doing so multiple times per day can expose them to 1 million words by kindergarten!). This is the most natural way to familiarize them with a wide range of sight words.

Also point out sight words in your environment — say, by reading signs on the road or at the grocery store out loud. This will help provide a solid foundation for when your child takes on more formal sight word learning in preschool and kindergarten. 

What Will Help: For young children, simply focus on joyful read-alouds that are packed with sight words, like Oh, The Places You'll Go! and I Love You Because You're You.

As your child enters preschool and kindergarten, this Sight Word Readers Parent Pack is a great way to supplement what they're learning in class. It features a mini activity book and write-and-learn pages to help your kids learn 50 high-frequency sight words! This Write-N-Seek: Sight Words activity book is also an effective tool for teaching your child sight words through tracing, writing, and puzzles.

Tip 2: Make read-alouds more interactive. 

When you read with your child, you’ll notice that many repetitive phrases contain sight words like I, a, at, am, and, it, in, is, and the. Have fun emphasizing this repetition, and encourage your child to chime in on the refrains as you point to the words along the way.

“Since sight words make up a large percentage of all text, engaging in interactive read-alouds with your child is a great way to practice them,” says Mossa. Books that show text in speech bubbles are particularly useful for this, because the text is concise and large, making it easy to point out sight words in each bubble as you read. 

What Will HelpHello, Crabby! and Unicorn and Yeti: Sparkly New Friends are two great early reader books that use repetition and feature text in speech bubbles. For general sight word practice, you can also use this Sight Word Tales book bundle with your child — it includes 25 read-aloud storybooks that will help your child learn the top 100 sight words! 

Tip 3: Engage all of their senses.

Mossa says she also uses multi-sensory activities with children, in which they fill in missing letters or rearrange letters to correctly spell a sight word, or "write" a word using their finger in the air or on a table.

“Children are more likely to retain a sight word in their long-term memory when practice includes these multi-sensory strategies,” says Mossa. She also suggests giving kids pipe cleaners or magnetic letters to build sight words. 

For more practice with spelling sight words — especially those that aren’t phonetically regular — Mossa says she turns to literacy expert Jan Richardson’s sight word technique. “I introduce the sight word by writing it on a dry erase board or making it with magnetic letters,” she says. “Then I ask children to look at each letter as I slide an index card left to right across the word.”

What Will Help: These Word-Building Tiles and this Magnetic Tabletop Learning Easel are must-have resources if you’re looking for fun, versatile ways to help your child practice spelling. The best part? They’ll feel like play for your little one! 

Tip 4: Sort sight words into categories.

It can be helpful to show kids how to sort sight words into categories, such as “rule followers” and “rule breakers,” says Mossa. However, this should be used with more fluent readers who have already built early decoding skills and can sound out words. 

“For example, the sight word ‘can’ follows regular phonics patterns,” Mossa says. “In contrast, ‘said’ is not decodable. Therefore, children must learn this word as a whole unit. When I introduce a sight word, I discuss whether it can be sounded out or if it is a word that is a rule breaker.” Play a sorting game at home in which your child guesses which sight words can or cannot be sounded out.

What Will Help: Discuss the various types of sight words in this Nonfiction Sight Word Readers Pack and the Scholastic Success With Sight Words workbook with your child. Both of these tools will help your young reader become more familiar with key sight words and strengthen their reading skills. 

Tip 5: Read and play with sight words daily. 

“Children will become better at reading sight words automatically when they have daily opportunities to interact with text at home,” says Mossa. Reading daily will naturally reinforce the learning of sight words, and you can also get creative with games, art projects, and other interactive activities. 

What Will Help: This Sight Words Learning Mat makes sight words fun and engaging for your child. By regularly using it to read, match, and write sight words at home, your kids will become even stronger, more fluent readers.

5 Tips for teaching sight words

Back to all articles

What are sight words

When do children learn them

More about reading

The Dolch List of sight words

Look for them in books

Hang them around the classroom

Help children use them

Practice them on the computer

Read and Spell blog

5 Tips for teaching sight words

Sight words are the English words you most frequently encounter when reading. They're called sight words because if you learn to recognize them by sight, instead of having to sound them out, it makes reading easier.

This is why they are so important to teach.

When a student learns to recognize sight words automatically, it can increase his or her reading fluency and comprehension. They are useful for young children to know, but also a good idea for struggling readers.

English as an additional, second, or foreign language learners, especially those who are just getting started with reading and writing, will also benefit from studying sight words.

Sometimes you'll find sight words referred to as high-frequency words. That's because they are the most common English words used in writing. Mastering them frees up attention for processing harder and lower frequency words.

More about sight words

Most children are introduced to sight words in first or second grade when they begin learning how to read. More than 75% of the average children's book is made up of sight words. A child who is a strong reader from an early age may find he or she acquires sight words effortlessly through repeat exposure from extensive reading.

But these words may require some extra effort and time for other students to learn, particularly if they are struggling to keep up with peers when it comes to reading.



How children learn to read

Children develop pre-literacy skills, including individual sound, letter and word recognition, through conversations with caregivers and being read to from an early age.

In order to read a word, a child must first be able to recognize individual letters and sets of letters and then map the correct sounds onto them. This process is called decoding.

Sounding out words, or decoding, uses up a lot of cognitive energy and attention. This is why reading can be quite slow in the beginning, when very few words look familiar to the child.

But after a learner has sounded out a word multiple times, he or she will find it easier to recognize by sight, which is to say he or she will be sight reading.

Which words are sight words?

Sight words are sometimes referred to as Dolch words after the man who assembled them into several lists many parents and educators teach today.

Edward William Dolch published a list of sight words in 1948 while he was working at the University of Illinois. In order to create the list, he looked through children's books for the most common words they contained.

Dolch felt that teaching young children to memorize too many words would be counterproductive. He narrowed the sight words list down to 220, leaving out nouns. This means today’s sight words are comprised mostly of service words such as prepositions, adjectives and verbs.

He eventually released an additional list of 95 nouns. Learn more about the Dolch List.

5 Tips for teaching sight words

There are many ways to teach sight words—here are just a few ideas!

  1. Look for them in books. Draw a child’s attention to a word by looking for it in children’s books. You can start with Dr. Seuss books as they contain a lot of them! Repeat exposure, pointing a word out, and talking about it provides a much better introduction than simply giving a child a list of terms to learn.

  2. Hang them around the classroom. Keep the sight words “in sight.” Certain words such as and and the will be hard for children to miss but calling attention to print that contains them is key. You can create big posters of a word, talk about the letters it contains and spend time focusing on its meaning.

  3. Help children use them. Teaching children to use sight words in their writing, whether it be through illustration, plain old spelling drills, or repetition on a keyboard, can cement learning. A word can be written in isolation or as part of a basic sentence.

  4. Re-visit them regularly. Teaching a word over and over again may seem pointless but repeat exposure will eventually do the trick. Children need plenty of practice reading and writing sight words before you can consider them learned. Children with specific learning differences, such as dyslexia, may especially benefit from spending extra time learning sight words.

  5. Introduce an online typing course. There’s no reason why a young child of age 6 or 7 cannot learn to type at the same time as he or she is learning to read and write. The significant factor is that the hands are mature enough to sit comfortably on a keyboard. Typing can greatly help those learners who struggle with dyslexia or dysgraphia as it teaches them to rely on muscle memory in the hands to help with spelling -- and if you use the TTRS course you can also have them learn to type using modules made up only of sight words!



Who else can benefit from sight words?

Sight words are typically taught as part of phonics and spelling lessons and used by teachers to facilitate reading skills.

They are important for understanding English and that means the bilingual child and English as an additional language adult learner can greatly benefit from covering them in early vocabulary lists.

Of course, for adult learners, Dr. Seuss may not be the most appropriate method of introduction so it is recommended that anyone teaching adults investigate other options, such as a touch-typing course in which students learn to recognize and type sight words on a computer.

When learning sight words is hard

For children who struggle with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, sight words are not always that easy to learn.

Learning any word is tricky, but as sight words tend to be somewhat generic vocabulary, they are less amenable to the mnemonic devices dyslexic students sometimes use to remember vocabulary.

If a teacher is aware of the learning difficulty, they can ensure the child receives extra help. However, it can be somewhat embarrassing when a student needs to work to keep up with his or her peers.

Introducing a self-study measure that can be completed at a pace set by the learner, after class or at home, may be the solution. For more information on how to use TTRS’s course for teaching sight words to struggling readers, just get in touch with our team!

Learn more

How do you teach sight words to your learners? Leave us a comment and join the discussion!

About the Author 

Meredith Cicerchia is a teaching affiliate at the University of Nottingham, an education consultant, and a freelance writer who covers topics ranging from speech and language difficulties and specific learning differences, to strategies for teaching English as a second and additional language.

Reviewed by 

Chris Freeman has a BA cum laude in Sociology, and has undertaken post grad work in education and educational technology. She spent 20+ years working in public health and in the charity sector.

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8 methods to help you learn foreign words

November 22, 2020EducationColumn

If new words in a foreign language are difficult to remember, one of these methods will certainly help you.



Tatyana Istomina

Polyglot, creator of the innovative online language school Polyglott.

Why do we think “Bring up a foreign language before summer” before each new year? Why do we buy textbooks and sign up for courses? So that later on vacation you can squeeze out only “London is the capital of Great Britain”?

When I arrived in Germany at the age of 21, after 5 years I worked as a sworn translator in court, speaking German at the level of a native speaker. Sometimes I needed to translate for those who have lived in this country for more than 20 years. They spoke German, but at the preschool level. How so?

Why was it so easy for me to learn new words, while for some, neither time nor cramming did any good? I want to share with you simple but effective methods that helped me become a polyglot.

1. Visual dictionaries

What is it

Visual dictionaries contain images and the words are organized by topic: for example, family, sports, animals. An arrow leads from each picture to words in Russian and foreign languages. Usually, the minimum grammatical information, such as the gender of the word, is indicated in small print above the words.

Such dictionaries for different languages ​​are very common. I even have a five-language visual dictionary from PONS.


The grammatical information indicated in such dictionaries is quite enough to work with this word further. You can write down words in a dictionary notebook and repeat in your free time.


  • Topics in such dictionaries are standard, and not all words will be necessary or interesting to you. To create new topics and add words, you need a lot of time to search for pictures on the Internet and words with translation. Of course, if you are an artist, then you are more fortunate: you can create your own unique visual dictionary.
  • No pronunciation information available. You must first learn the rules of reading and pronunciation.

Who suits

This type of dictionaries suits visuals very well. Such people remember words along with images, through pictures.

In addition, parents will appreciate these dictionaries - you can learn the language together with your children.

How to use

  1. First look at the pictures and describe them in another language using new words. For example: "I see a house."
  2. If you are learning a language with the whole family, make up short stories in a foreign language and tell them. For example: "In the house on the second floor, a cat sits under the bed."
  3. Play with words. Add fun questions like, “What does your dream house look like?”, “Who do you think you were in a past life?”. So you will spend the evening not only interesting, but also useful. Words will be remembered quickly and for a long time.

Life hack

Keep a smartphone with an electronic dictionary, such as Leo.org, handy. So you can listen to how a word sounds from native speakers and immediately save it to your personal virtual dictionary. But more on that later.

2. Word plates

What it is

Word plates have two columns. Foreign words are written in the left column, and their translation into Russian is written in the right column. Lexical minimum spreadsheets can be found on the Internet if you look for materials to prepare for language exams. Also, such lists are usually found in books, such as "The 2,000 Most Important Words in Spanish". Of course, you can create the plates yourself, in a notebook by hand or in electronic format, such as Excel or Google Sheets.


Tablets are the most convenient format for storing words. All words can be sorted and taught either alphabetically or by topic. In addition, you can make additional columns for information on grammar and pronunciation.


A fly in the ointment in a barrel of honey - learning from tablets can be boring, since the memorization process is mechanical, without an element of creativity. I was usually blown away by the fourth word.

Suitable for

The busiest and all those who are friends with tables.

How to use

Learn words in three steps, like in sports. One approach, one day. After each approach, we mark with a pencil or a colored pen whether the word was remembered or not.

  1. Read the foreign word for the first time, look at its translation without closing the columns.
  2. Read the foreign word a second time, already closing the Russian column, to remember the meaning of the word.
  3. Look at the Russian word, closing the entire column with foreign words and naming the translation into the foreign language.

Life hack

In order not to get bored, I choose 10 words for each day from different pages, highlight them in a book or table with a bright color, so as not to confuse them later. And I make a story out of them, one that reflects my day. Usually I not only write it down in a notebook, but also tell it to someone. Stories like these:

A zebra comes to his psychoanalyst.

- Doctor, I'm talking in my sleep.

- Do you have striped dreams? It is being treated.

No, doctor. I talk in my sleep. And the whole office is already laughing at me.

Very fun, try it yourself.

3. Paper cards

What it is

This method burst into my life in Germany when I found out how students study at the university. For all subjects, they usually make mini- or maxi-cards, as we do cheat sheets and notes. They can be bought both ready-made, with written words, and empty.

Of course, you can do it yourself - cut a sheet of paper into several (2-10) even rectangular cards. The size depends on how many words you want to write on one card. My cards are 7.5 by 5 centimeters. On one side we write a foreign word, and on the back - its Russian translation.


Cards are inexpensive. Even if all the words on them are learned, making additional ones with your own hands is very quick and easy.


As in the previous method, memorization occurs mechanically, it becomes boring to learn, it is difficult to memorize more than 10 words effectively.

Who suits

For those who don't remember anything at all, as well as visuals.

How to use

It is usually best to do three sets.

  1. Look at the word, looking at its meaning in Russian. Be sure to say the foreign word out loud.
  2. Repeat without peeping his Russian translation.
  3. Look at the back of the card, at the Russian word, name the foreign word, but without looking.
  4. Put all the words that you remember after three approaches into a separate envelope to repeat at the end of the week along with the rest of the words.
  5. Those words that were named with errors or forgotten, collect in another envelope. Repeat them the next day and during the week more actively until you remember.


Color the cards by separating the colors by topic, such as travel, work, study, and so on. If you bought ready-made cards, sort them by topic yourself: manufacturers usually take this option into account and mark the topic at the top of the card. Now it takes me only one hour to repeat all the necessary words for traveling to a new country, and before that it took a whole day.

4. Electronic cards

What is it

You can't even imagine my joy when I switched from dusty paper dictionaries to electronic ones. You read an article in German - Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V, and that's it, you learned the translation. Along with electronic dictionaries, the ability to create your own electronic cards has also appeared.

We enter a foreign word into our dictionary, add a translation to it and learn. ABBYY Lingvo Live, PONS and other leading players in the language content market have been offering this service for several years. On the sites of their online dictionaries, you can create your own card index and learn words in any quantity and at any time.


It is very convenient to learn words even on the phone, for example, in the subway or traffic jams, in just 5 minutes a day. The words appear on the screen in random order, making them easier to remember.


Difficult to track learning progress and understand which topics have already been learned and which have not. So far, such dictionaries lack many useful features, such as sorting by date or alphabetically.

Suitable for

For those who live non-stop, stay away from home or office for a long time, or simply do not want to carry envelopes with cards or heavy dictionaries.

How to use

  1. Index the most difficult words or words of the same subject that you find when reading a book, articles at work, news in an online card index.
  2. Add the translation from the online dictionary to the word.
  3. Open an online filing cabinet when you have 5 minutes of free time.
  4. Repeat the words aloud. For each word there is an audio recording with the correct pronunciation, so you can learn not only visually, but also by ear.
  5. Once you remember a word, mark it as learned so it doesn't reappear when you repeat it.


Use the "Create Group" function and add only cards of the topic that is really important to you to the new group. I also copy words from my spreadsheets to an online file cabinet when it’s already boring to learn them in a spreadsheet.

5. Audio cards

What it is

Audio cards are the sound equivalent of regular paper cards. First, a foreign word sounds, and after a short pause - its translation. Typically, audio cards are recorded by topic: for example, 30 words on the topic of travel.


Flashcards save time - you can combine the study of words with your favorite activities or household chores.


Audio cards are still rarely compiled and sold by anyone. Usually they are recorded by those students who are easier to memorize by ear.

Suitable for

  • For those who better perceive information by ear.
  • For those who love radio, music and “remember with their ears”.
  • For those who live non-stop.
  • For those who often do several things at the same time, listen to music while driving or while jogging.

How to use

It is better to learn words in several steps.

  1. First, just listen to the words with translation and repeat them aloud after the speaker.
  2. Then try to translate the words in pauses before you hear the translation.
  3. Listen and repeat flashcards until you get bored or remember all the words.


It's quite easy to create audio cards yourself.

  • The fastest way is to say words on a voice recorder or phone, always making small pauses after each foreign word for future training. After a pause, say the translation into Russian.
  • Use professional recording software. I use Audacity, it's completely free. Get a good microphone, play upbeat music in the background, and write down all the words with little pauses.

Write down 10 words on each audio card to keep your brain from overheating.

6. Mind map, or mind maps

What is it

This is one of the most modern and interesting ways to learn words. On a piece of paper or in a program like MindMeister, write a keyword, such as sports. Arrows come from it - the words with which it is associated, and their translation into a foreign language. If the topic is sports, you can write sports and under each of them - suitable verbs of movement, objects and characteristics associated with this sport.


Drawing up a map is a creative process, many words are remembered already during its creation, and for a long time. You can quickly and easily repeat words on a mind map.


The process of creating one card is quite long and laborious. Smart maps are rarely sold, usually they are made by yourself.

Who suits

Those who analyze their lives and try to make it as effective as possible, as well as visuals.

How to use

  1. Select important topics to remember. If you are planning a trip, then these are all the words that are associated with it and may be useful to you: transport, beach holidays, restaurants, and so on.
  2. Create a mind map with pictures, links to interesting articles, books.
  3. Repeat the words at least once a day, noting the ones you don't remember.


The unwritten rule is that the more necessary the words, the faster you will memorize them. Are you interested in cooking, knitting or sports? Make a mind map for your hobby. You will not even have time to understand when you have memorized all these words. I create a separate map for each trip. It quickly acquires links to interesting events, holidays, sights. Learning new words turns into an exciting adventure!

7. Stickers

What it is

Bright sticky notes can also be used for teaching. On the stickers you need to write the names of objects in a foreign language, with or without translation. After that, stickers are attached to the objects that they represent. For example, the German word Kühlschrank, "refrigerator", we stick on the refrigerator.


Words are remembered very quickly, even without their conscious repetition, because they constantly flash before the eyes.


Not all family members will appreciate your attempts to decorate the house with stickers. In addition, abstract concepts ("happiness", "justice" and so on) are difficult to learn in this way.

Suitable for

  • For those who want to start learning a foreign language immediately after reading this article.
  • Those who want to quickly master the basic vocabulary of a new language.

How to use

Option 1 Traditional: every time you see a sticker on an object, say the foreign word aloud. Learned the word - remove the sticker.

Option 2 , "all at once": stick a list of 10 words where you visit very often. For example, at the computer, on the refrigerator or even in the toilet. Learned the word - cross it out. Learned all the words - replace the sticker with a new one, with different words.

Life hack

For all difficult words I create electronic stickers in Sticky Notes. You can copy those words with translation that are not remembered in any way in tables or by other methods. Place them on your home screen. Learned - erased. Learn and repeat when you pause at work.


Price: 0

8. The author's method "Message to the Future"

What it is

This method was born in extreme conditions. After a serious illness, I was looking for ways to get out of depression. And I didn't find it. Then I created it myself. I wrote down in a paper calendar for the whole year ahead, for every day of every month, the kindest and most positive words in a foreign language, quotes from my favorite books, affirmations. That is, the words that the "future me" would really like to hear or read.


Words are remembered very quickly because they are associated with your emotions and written by you for you. In addition, a positive charge for the whole day is provided to you!


Making a calendar takes a lot of time, like any creative process. It is better to prepare in advance: collect phrases and words on topics that you want to learn.

Who suits

  • Those who have lost faith in themselves and their strength, even if not for long.
  • For those who just want to feel that they are able to learn a foreign language.
  • Those who want to try all methods at once after reading the article.

How to use

Every day, open a new page of the calendar and read aloud the words or phrases that you have prepared for yourself in advance. Repeat them all day until you remember.

Life hack

I have simplified my task and use the Google Calendar app instead of a paper calendar. Copying phrases, sentences and words is faster this way. In addition, storing and reviewing them in this way is also much easier.

Even if you don't have time and want to take a break between things, even if you think you don't have the ability, you can choose the one that suits you best from these simple but effective methods. You can combine these methods and customize them for yourself.

I believe that these tips will help you remember several times more words than you did before. I believe in the success of each of you!

Read also 💬

  • 3 habits of people who find it easy to learn foreign languages ​​
  • How to memorize foreign words easily and effectively
  • 12 best dictionaries and translators for Android and iOS

*Activities of Meta Platforms Inc. and its social networks Facebook and Instagram are prohibited in the territory of the Russian Federation.

7 effective ways to memorize words in English

When learning a foreign language, it is very important to constantly replenish your vocabulary - to learn new and new words. However, not everyone succeeds in doing this. We offer eleven tips to help you memorize new words in English more effectively.

You can start with a video from Tanya Starikova in which she shares how she manages to learn English words:

Memorize words in context

Language is a tool that people use to express their thoughts . Therefore, each word is valuable not in itself, but in the context.

Don't learn English words in a vacuum. If you come across an unfamiliar word and decide to remember it, write down the context in which it was used. For example, the English word ajar (ajar) is easier to learn as part of the phrase “the windows were ajar” (“the windows were ajar”) than separately.

You can find ready-made examples of the use of the English word you are interested in in online services such as Reverso, PlayPhrase or Yandex.Translate. Also, practice making sentences with new words on your own. For example, you need to remember the verb to prefer (prefer). Make up some examples that will reveal the meaning of this verb.

Would you prefer wine or beer?

Do you prefer wine or beer?

I prefer to be called by my first name.

I prefer to be called by my first name.

My grandmother prefers detectives to any other TV shows.

My grandmother prefers detectives to any other series.

Use pictures

Draw little pictures to remember the meaning of an English word. It’s not scary if you can’t draw: our brain receives so much monotonous information that a strange picture is a kind of surprise, and we always remember surprises.

If you don't feel like drawing on your own, choose a ready-made illustration for a new word in Google. It is better if the image is bright, strange or funny - this way it will be remembered more reliably.

You can collect word + image pairs in electronic form, but it is better in the form of paper cards. To test yourself, look at the side with the picture and try to remember what English word it stands for.

Look up synonyms and antonyms

If you already have a basic vocabulary, practice finding synonyms and antonyms for new English words. This will not only help them learn, but also come in handy in communication: if you do forget a word, you can easily find a replacement for it.

For example, you need to learn the word irreverent (irreverent, disrespectful), and you already know the word with the same meaning disrespectful . It remains to pick up antonyms: "respectful" - "respectful" and "polite" - "polite". In conjunction with synonyms and antonyms, a new English word will be easier to remember.

Memorize single-root words

Let's take the English root -respect- , which we have already considered in the previous example. Noun respect means respect. Now let's look in the dictionary for other words formed from the same root:



to respect



solid, respectable



in respect of


Thus, instead of one word, you learned several at once, and their meanings are interconnected, which will help to learn them.

Make up stories

To learn several unrelated words at once, combine them into a story. Memorizing a short story is easier than a bunch of random words because the story has a plot and can be recreated in the imagination.

Let's fantasize and make up a story with five random English words:







to approach




From these words we got the following story:

A boy walked to the pond . He was dressed in a gray coat and a hat. The boy was carrying a loaf of bread. He was going to feed the ducks. But as he approached the pond , he saw no ducks there. "It's chilly today", the boy thought, "the ducks must be at home, warming their feet at the fireplace ".

A boy came up to the pond. He was wearing a gray coat and hat. The boy was carrying a loaf of bread. He was going to feed the ducks. But when he approached the pond, he did not see a single duck there. “It’s cold today,” the boy thought, “the ducks are probably at home, warming their paws by the fireplace.”

It's not scary if the story comes out strange or even absurd, because the unusual is remembered better.

Make associative networks

Our brain takes what we read and transforms it into images, ideas and feelings, and then forms connections between new information and what we already know. This is how memorization happens - the new unites with the old. When you pair a new English word with something you already know, it's easier for your brain to find it and remember it at the right moment.

Draw a network of concepts. Take what you want to remember (word, idea, sentence) and write it in the center of the paper. Then draw lines from it in all directions, like a web.

At the end of each line, write down any English words or pictures that come to mind when you think of the word in the center. It doesn't matter what the associations are, just write down whatever you come up with.

It will only take a couple of minutes, and now all the words or concepts will be interconnected in your brain. If you see or hear one of them, it will be easier for you to remember the others.

Use mnemonic tricks

Sometimes you can't remember a new English word, and none of the above methods helps. Then mnemonics will come to the rescue - a way of remembering through associations.

Let's say you have trouble learning the English word " eagle " ("eagle"). You can use a mnemonic clue with a consonant Russian word: "Eagle's claws are ten needles ".

To memorize word tire (tire), you can mentally associate it with the consonant English word tired (tired): “Dad is tired, he’s been pumping up the tires” (“Dad is tired because he pumped up tires”).

You shouldn't get carried away with this method, but it helps a lot to learn tricky words that you can't remember otherwise.

Parse word by composition

Before looking up the translation of an English word in the dictionary, try to parse it by composition and determine the meaning yourself. For example, you came across the verb to mistreat . You don't know what it means, but you know the verb to treat - "treat, treat. " It remains to find out the meaning of the prefix mis- . You may have encountered it in words such as to misbehave (behave badly) or to misunderstand (misunderstand). So the prefix mis- means something bad or wrong. Indeed, the verb to mistreat is translated from English into Russian as "to mistreat".

If you make a list of common prefixes ( un-, dis-, re-, de- etc.) and suffixes ( -able, -ly, -ent, -tion, -ive etc.) etc.) and remember what they mean, it will be easier for you to guess the meaning of new words for you in English.

Look for something interesting in a boring one

It happens that some topic is very difficult to come by, because it is not interesting for you personally. For example, you are studying the topic “Cars”, but you don’t drive a car yourself, and this area is completely alien to you. And it is not clear why to learn words that you are not going to use in life. To stir up interest in a boring topic, connect it to something that is more interesting or useful to you personally.

For example, car images and metaphors are often found in the songs of foreign artists - you can easily find lyrics in English with the words steering wheel (“steering wheel”), highway (road, highway) or lane (strip).

Or look for English idioms that use the words you want. Here are some automotive-themed ones:

  • Stay in your lane. - Mind your own business (literally: stay in your lane).
  • Down the road. - In the future (literally: further down the road).
  • U-Turn. - A sharp change of opinion (literally: a reversal).
  • To put the brakes on. - Slow down (literally: slow down).

These idioms will come in handy in conversational speech, even if you never intend to drive. And now boring words will have more figurative associations that will help them learn.

Refresh knowledge periodically

Probably, this happened to you at school: you learned a dozen new English words, did your homework, wrote a dictation… And after a month everyone forgot. This happens because new vocabulary needs to be periodically repeated and refreshed in memory. There is even a recommended schedule for repeating English words, based on the works of the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus:

  1. Use a new word as soon as you learn it;
  2. Use the word again after 20–30 minutes;
  3. Repeat word every other day;
  4. Return to a new word after 2–3 weeks;
  5. Repeat the word in 2–3 months;
  6. Fix the word after 2-3 years.

It is on this method of memorization that the application for learning new English words Aword is based. In order not to think about how many weeks and months have passed since meeting a new word, install the application and it will monitor the repetition schedule for you. By the way, Aword also uses other techniques for memorizing words listed in this article: images with associations and mnemonic phrases.

Make sure that the word will be useful to you

Knowledge that we do not use is sooner or later forgotten, as happened with poems and theorems that we learned at school. Therefore, do not waste time memorizing rare, little-used words. This is especially important for those who are just starting to learn English. Before you draw flashcards and add a word to the spaced repetition list, make sure you need to know it at all.

There is a list of 3,000 words, which is enough to understand most texts written in English. Of course, during your studies you will still learn much more, but at first you should check the list so that you don’t spend time memorizing rare English words and forget about the most important ones. For convenience, such words are marked with a special icon in the Aword application.

Read more about the golden list of English words and how to use it in your studies in our magazine.

Let's sum up

We have analyzed 11 ways to effectively memorize new English words - it remains only to put them into practice and choose the ones that suit you.

  1. Learn not individual words, but phrases and sentences with them.
  2. Draw association pictures for new words.
  3. Choose synonyms and antonyms for the word you want to remember.
  4. Instead of one English word, learn several cognates at once.
  5. Write short stories with new words.
  6. Make associative cards with English vocabulary.
  7. Use mnemonic technique: consonant Russian or English words.
  8. Analyze words by composition and memorize the meanings of popular English prefixes and suffixes.
  9. Associate new words with things that interest you personally, such as useful idioms or English song lyrics.
  10. Periodically repeat the words already learned so as not to forget them.

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