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Reading Vocabulary - How to Improve Your Vocabulary

Updated on February 16, 2015
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Have you wondered how as an adult you can grow your vocabulary Should you take a class? Make vocabulary cards and post around the house? Those could work, but there is another way to do it as you read throughout the day.

If you are an avid reader, this will much easier since you are in the world of books already much of the time. In all honesty, can you say that you know the meaning of every single word that you read? You might be surprised at how many you are not completely sure of.

Keep a notebook handy with your book that you are reading.

Depending on what kind of reader you are, you might want to do this as you go along during your reading or wait until a better time for you. Maybe even a combination of techniques.

Write on the top of the first page of your notebook the name of the book you are reading. Date it if you are interested in looking back at a later time.

Open your book and begin reading. Every time you come across a word that you are unfamiliar with or not too sure of the definition in that particular sentence, write it in your notebook.

Look up the word and write its definition in your notebook.

Write the page number of your book where you found the word so that you can go back and see the context of it. If you find that the word is multiple times, go back to that word and make a note of that and maybe that is one you need to focus on more since it is more popular than you thought.

Maybe set aside a time to review your vocabulary notebook and see how many words you have begun using. You could even turn it into a vocabulary journal and make notes of where you begin to notice the word being used.

A co-worker told me about this and it's amazing how many words are out there that I have no idea what they mean. What is funny about it is once you learn a few new words, you'll hear them EVERYWHERE around you. TV, the store, your friends. You've never noticed it before, but now you are really aware of these new words and begin to use them in your own words.

A good one is histrionics. Never heard it before that I knew of. Looking at it during my reading I would have thought that it had something to do with history. NOPE! It's basically over-reaction or putting on a display of emotion to get the desired effect (per Webster). I heard it on a soap opera once and was confused why that word was used at that time. I looked it up and laughed SO hard because that description was perfect for the scene. We've seen that word everywhere and now use it ourselves.

Happy Reading!!!!


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      nivel 6 years ago

      Great post ! Thanks I really Appreciate It

    • jalinetron profile image

      jalinetron 9 years ago from Quebradillas, Puerto Rico

      Thank you! It was very helpful. Nothing beats learning new words than from you favorite novel or book.