How to improve your reading and vocabulary skills
The more you read the more your vocabulary and grammar skills will improve. Yes, your communication and writing skills will improve also; however, right now let us take a look at reading and vocabulary skills.
At the elementary school level there is much focus on vocabulary; a lot lessons, drills and testing and maybe not enough reading. The aim of this article is to offer step-by-step instructions on how to improve one’s reading and vocabulary skills. The target group is elementary to high school students. These are the guidelines I give my students when I am instructing them on how to build their vocabulary and become better readers.
As you read your novel or story book highlight the words you don't know so that you don't loose where you are in the passage or on the page.
Write the highlighted word(s) down in a note book or on a notepad. Then write the page number down beside the word(s).
Look up the word(s) in a dictionary and then write down the definition next to it on your notepad or in a notebook.
Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you have finished reading the first chapter.
Go back and review the vocabulary words and practice writing them in sentences.
Group the list of words into themes. This should help you memorize new vocabulary words more quickly. This could be words with similar meanings or synonyms; for example: STOP and STAGNANT.
When learning the meaning of a new word, it’s important to first look at the prefixes and suffixes. Secondly, find ‘hints’ of what that word could mean in that sentence, the sentence before and after to better understand the definition of the word. Then underline root word in the word you’ve highlighted and in an effort to learn the meaning.
Prefix - A word or part of a word that is placed at the beginning of a word to change its meaning.For example: bicycle – “bi”- cycle; where “bi" means two (in this case that would refer to the wheels on the bicycle).
Suffix - A word or part of a word that is placed at the end of a word to change its meaning.For example; hopeless - hope-“less”; where “less” means without.
Brainstorm antonyms of the new words learned. Antonyms are words that have opposite meanings, i.e. HOT and COLD.
Tips & Warnings:
1. Read in a quiet space where there are no distractions like a television or music playing in the background.
2. Most people become a part of a book club so that they can share ideas and thoughts about the books they've read. It is also a great way to be introduced to a wide genre of books that you would not have normally read on your own.
3. Use the 'new' words in your daily conversations until it becomes an active part of your vocabulary.
4. Learn the vocabulary in themes (e.g.; synonyms, antonyms etc.), because this is a great way to remember the words and or commit them to memory.