Are you trying to improve your vocabulary for school, standardized tests, or personal growth? If so, you must be committed to learning new words on a regular basis.
Expanding your knowledge and use of words will enable you to communicate more effectively (speaking & writing), so people will easily understand you. You will also be perceived as a confident and intelligent person. Your ability to communicate is an important skill that can be useful in various situations throughout your lifetime. For example, writing a letter to a restaurant owner to voice your displeasure with service received when dining at their establishment. Perhaps you would like to notify a store manager about excellent customer service you received from a Sales Associate while shopping in their store. Maybe you have suggestions regarding how a store can improve certain aspects of their business, and you want to tell them by dropping a note into their "suggestion box". Regardless of the situation it is important to speak and write well so you are taken seriously and are understood.
Here are 5 powerful ways to enhance your vocabulary:
1. Develop an insatiable appetite for reading Read novels, short stories, anthologies, magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. The more you read the more words you will be exposed to.
2. Become best friends with the dictionary and the thesaurus While reading, when you encounter a word that is unfamiliar, look up the meaning. Be sure to read the entire entry for the word because it can have a different meaning depending on the context in which it is used. Then write down the main entry for the word. You can also write a descriptive sentence using the word correctly. A great idea is creating a personal glossary of terms in a composition notebook, Google Docs or another digital format. While writing/typing the definition and using it in a sentence, you are using the kinesthetic and visual modalities of learning. Also find opportunities to use these words in your day to day conversations.
3. Study Latin & Greek prefixes, suffixes and roots If you don't take Latin in school, that is not an excuse for not learning them. Do it on yourself (DIY). If you like, you can do it the old fashioned way and create flashcards using 3 by 5 index cards. If you prefer a digital tool you can use Quizlet to create the flash cards. Knowledge of these prefixes, suffixes, and roots can help you figure out what a word means on sight as well as from context (very helpful on the ACT & SAT tests).
4. Learn a new word each day There are many different websites that offer this service, but I signed up to receive Word of the Day from dictionary.com and have created a personal glossary of terms using Google Docs. Some of the words are not used in typical conversations, but it can’t hurt to learn what they mean. There are also digital tools such as Vocabador, SAT Vocab, and Power Vocab Word Game that are available on Android and iPhone.
5. Play word games (e.g. Scrabble, Words with Friends) You can also learn several words by playing these games. There is nothing more frustrating than having your opponent play a word you don't believe is a "real" word only to find out it is certainly a real word. Add words from these games to your personal glossary. Crossword puzzles are good for learning new words as well! Those new words can be a part of clues as well as answers.
How do you learn new words to expand your vocabulary?
Positive reinforcement is a behavior modification strategy that is used to inspire good behavior. In order for students to make positive changes with respect to their behavior, they must have an unambiguous idea of what constitutes good, positive behavior. The behavior needs to be positively reinforced when it is demonstrated in any way.
Positive reinforcement is any circumstance that follows good behavior and increases the chance of that behavior being repeated and eventually becoming the norm. For teachers, coaches, parents, bosses, managers, and mentors, implementing positive reinforcement will aid in maintaining motivation and increased interest. Varying the frequency and type of positive reinforcement for individuals is highly suggested, so that it remains effective. Positive reinforcement is most effective when it is given as soon as the behavior is witnessed. You may start to notice more than better behavior. It can contribute to increased self-esteem, motivation, and inspiration.
Below are ways that will lead to increased good behavior with positive reinforcement within a classroom setting, at home or in an athletic environment.
Classroom (lower & upper elementary)
Things To Say At Home/In An Athletic Environment (youth/middle/ high school)
Do you have any phrases to add to the above lists?
With the support of parents and teachers, kids can learn strategies to cope with fluency issues that affect his or her reading. Below are some tips and specific strategies to implement.
What students can do to help themselves
1. Track the words with your finger as a parent or teacher reads a passage aloud. Then you read it.
2. Have a parent or teacher read aloud to you then match your voice to theirs.
3. Read your favorite books and poems over and over. Practice getting smoother and reading with expression.
What parents can do to help at home
1. Support and encourage your child. Realize that he or she is likely frustrated by reading.
2. Check with your child's teachers to find out their assessment of your child's word decoding skills. If your child can decode words well, help him or her build speed and accuracy by:
Parent-Teacher conferences are by far the most insightful time of the school year, and should not be under-estimated. If used wisely, the face-to-face time with the each of your child's teachers can provide valuable information about strengths, skill-levels, opportunities for improvement, work ethic, attitudes about course material, and overall maturity. Conferences play an important role in keeping your student on track academically, emotionally, and socially; and you can consider these meetings an early-warning system, in case extra support or motivation is necessary well before report cards come out. In addition, they can help to resolve any misunderstandings and go a long way to build a strongly unified support team with your child's best interests at heart.
Here are 10 tips you can use to ensure a positive and productive conversation:
Before The Conference
1.) For each course (subject for elementary students), jot down a few questions to ask the teacher about your student's progress. Topics might include: whether homework assignments are consistently complete and submitted on time, if your student is prepared to participate in class on a regular basis, does he/she ask questions when needing help, and what are social dynamics in the classroom. Simple questions like these show you genuinely value making sure your child has a strong education.
2.) If your schedule allows, plan to arrive about 10 minutes before your conference appointment. Oftentimes, appointments run long or things happen that end up delaying you; but by making an effort to show up a little early conveys that you value and appreciate the teacher’s time. If the conference before you finishes early, you might be able to start AND finish early too.
During The Conference
3.) Remember to demonstrate positive body language. Despite what some people think, body language says a lot - open your arms, uncross your legs, look the teacher in the eyes, and confirm what they are saying by nodding, smiling, laughing, etc. This behavior quickly develops rapport between yourself and the teacher, and makes for a more collegial conversation.
4.) Talk and ask questions about more than grades, class rank, etc. Ask the teacher how child is developing socially and emotionally. Don’t be overly concerned with scores on the progress report (especially during fall conferences). In my opinion, these two things are just as, if not more, important than grades especially in the long run.
I still fondly recall a fall conference with the parents of one of my former 4th grade students. As always, I started the conference by allowing the parents to review the progress report that consisted of my comments, as well as scores from their child's progress during the first 8 weeks of the school year. The father pushed the paper aside and said “I’m not so much interested in numbers. 4th grade is still fresh; and there is always room for improvement. Tell me about how my child is doing socially and emotionally.” It was very refreshing to have a parent who wasn't fixated on grades/scores/class rank. Needless to say, my spring conference with him was equally as positive; and his child completed a fantastic 4th grade experience.
5.) Remember to keep your conversation exclusively about your own child versus bringing up classmates for comparison sake. Teachers are legally bound to protect the confidentiality of their students. Asking a teacher about another child’s grades, or other personal information, is inappropriate. The only time it is critically important to raise an issue about another student is in the context of bullying.
6.) If you want to follow up on your child’s progress, ask the teacher about their preferred mode of communication. Teachers rarely have time to talk on the phone during the school day, so expect that email will be most feasible. If a phone conversation is necessary, keep in mind that teachers only have brief windows of free-time during the school day; so be flexible and consider speaking to each other the early evening hours.
7.) Many parents want to believe their child is on the right track based on what they see at home; however, keep in mind that your student's teacher spends considerably more focused time with him/her each day for 9 consecutive months (more if the school is year-round). However, listen carefully to all the observations the teacher conveys with an open mind - especially when it's not what you wanted or expected to hear. Reflect closely on the teacher’s academic or social assessment of your child. After all, they are professionally trained and licensed to gauge a student's appropriate development level at each age and grade. The best response to this information is, "What can I/we do to help?"
8.) Even if you feel your child is an angel, never assume your child has been objective in telling you why she/he got in trouble. There are frequent occasions when a child was knowingly “in the wrong;” but conveyed a much different scenario than what truly happened. Openly listening to the facts of the incident, rather than going immediately to your child's defense, will likely help you avoid being embarrassed when learning what really happened. It's also an important life lesson for your child to realize that every choice has a consequence and to learn to make better choices.
If your child is having disciplinary issues, be sure to let the teacher know about anything going on at home that might be affecting your child’s behavior (e.g. separation, divorce or a sick family member). If the teacher is aware, it will help them understand why your child is suddenly acting out/behaving differently and can consider effective methods of intervention.
After The Conference
9.) Send a handwritten thank you note to your child's teacher(s), especially if the conference was a challenging one. Not only does it convey a message of gratitude and appreciation for the teacher’s time and effort in educating your child; but it also shows that you care about your child’s well-being and want to work with the teacher to help them succeed.
10.) If you and a teacher have devised a plan of action to support your child's academic and/or social progress, remember to follow up and share periodic updates about the progress that you have made or observed at home. By not honoring your part of the agreement, the consequence could be that nothing changes and there's no improvement, or unfortunately, things could go from bad to worse.
For the majority of students, the carefree days of summer break are over; and another nine months of learning new topics in the classroom and new skills on the athletic fields/courts has officially begun!
Here are some reminders that are valuable and easy to implement in order to help your child experience a successful school year: