Vocabulary is the foundation for learning any language. It is considered to be the set of words within a particular language that are familiar to you. Building a better vocabulary is important for language development, comprehension, and communication . It is considered a key component of mastering a language and achieving language fluency. Think of all the words in your vocabulary as pieces of a puzzle, the more pieces you have the easier it is to put the puzzle together, or in this case become fluent in English.
Building a better vocabulary requires significant commitment and constant practice. However, It is important to note that it is very achievable. It has been suggested that with as little as 15 minutes per day, you can start building your vocabulary. We’ve put together a guide that shows you seven ways to improve your vocabulary in 30 days. Our goal is to help you identify easy and fun ways for building a better vocabulary and putting vocabulary in use. For example, we have suggested some of the best books to improve your vocabulary and some of our favorite word games. Activities such as those can easily help you improve your vocabulary in a fun and entertaining way. Who said learning has to be boring right? Keep reading to learn more about things you can do to help you improve your vocabulary in 30 days.
When learning a new language, it is important to practice and immerse yourself as much as you can. There are a lot of different things that you can do to help improve your vocabulary. While it does require a lot of work, dedication and learning, it can also be a lot of fun if you find entertaining and engaging ways to learn. We’ve identified a number of different things that you can do to improve your vocabulary in just 30 days!
Reading is one of the most effective ways to add words to your vocabulary. It has a number of advantages as it exposes you to the same vocabulary in a subtle yet repetitive way. This article aptly highlights how It also helps you to place and understand words in the proper context. Some have suggested that when you read, learning occurs in a more natural way, similar to when you learned your native language. The key to successfully improving your vocabulary through reading is paying attention. For reading to be impactful, you need to make a conscious effort to consistently pay attention and not just skip over words you don’t know. When you do come across a word that you are unsure of or is unfamiliar to you, write it down somewhere and/or look it up. Google is your best friend here.
It is important to start with texts that are not only at your comprehensive level but that you also enjoy reading. We recommend the following books to help improve your vocabulary:
- Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
- The Giver – Lois Lowry
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
- Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austin
- To Kill a Mocking Bird – Harper Lee
- Flat Stanley (series) – Jeff Brown
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
- If You Give a Moose a Muffin – Laura Numeroff
- The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein
- Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
Vocabulary building is a matter of reviewing words regularly until they are fixed in your memory (JOCRF, 2021). Repetition is very important when learning a new language and expanding your vocabulary. Journaling is a great way to record new words and put new vocabulary in use. For example, after you discover a new word, write it down in your journal with a description of what it means. Then use the new words you’ve learned and start forming sentences with them. Journaling is also an easy way to review, practice and retain words. For example, every night you could review your journal and list of words you’ve learned, new and old. Journaling has many benefits as it helps you think more in English, forces you to learn new vocabulary, improves your writing skills, and helps you build confidence. There are many more benefits to journaling that you can learn about in this youtube video.
#3 Playing word games
Technology has become a huge part of our day to day lives. On our cellphones, tablets and computer devices we have access to a wide variety of games and apps. Word games are a great way to discover new words and their meaning. Plus, who doesn’t love playing games? They are an effective way to improve your vocabulary because they use the exact same skillset (semantic and/or phonological skills) that are required for learning words but in a way more engaging and entertaining way. They also teach you things like sentence structure, spelling and grammar, and other technical components of the English language. It has also been suggested that you learn better when you are having fun. So why not try a word game, we’ve listed a few classics that you can try below.
Try these word games:
- Word Jumble
#4 Watching TV
Watching your favorite movies and television shows in English is another great way to increase your vocabulary. Research has shown that the vast majority of words are learned in context and through word repetition. To enhance your learning even more, another trick is to also use English subtitles. That way you are hearing and reading English words, while watching your favorite tv show or movie. One article analyzed repetition among tv shows and found the best tv shows to watch (Andrade, 2021). You can also check out this fun youtube channel about learning languages with TV.
Some tv shows to help improve your vocabulary include:
- Downton Abbey
- Greys Anatomy
- The Big Bang Theory
- The Crown
Some of the best movies to help improve your English language vocabulary:
- The Hunger Games
- Men in Black
- Toy Story
- Harry Potter
- Forrest Gump
You can also check this article out where we have an extensive list of movies to help you.
#5 Changing the language on your phone
Most of us, whether we want to admit it or not, are glued to our phones. Changing the language settings on your phone is an easy way to integrate and expand your vocabulary. For example, using the GPS in English will allow you to become familiar with directional vocabulary. This is a good way to build your vocabulary as it teaches words in the proper context and in a repetitive way. You can also switch the language on your social media apps, like Facebook and Instagram, to familiarize yourself with common language (e.g. Like, Follow, Friend). While this approach can be challenging, it forces you to learn if you want to be able to use your phone!
#6 Listening to English Music
Everyone loves listening to music in their spare time, in the shower, in the car or on their way to work etc. Why not swap your normal musical tastes for English music. Listening to English music can help you learn new vocabulary, improve comprehension and understand proper pronunciation. While you are enjoying your music, you also benefit from songs repetitiveness, simple sentence structure and conversational language. Give it a try – listen to your favorite English songs and see how many words you can add to your vocabulary.
Some of the best songs that can help improve your English language vocabulary include:
- Wake me up – Avicci
- Thinking out Loud – Ed Sheeran
- Hello – Adele
- All of Me – John Legend
- Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
#7 – Using language apps
Spending even a small amount of time per day on a language app, such as Duolingo, can really help improve your vocabulary. Most language apps not only introduce you to words but provide you with the meaning and proper context of the word. They also tend to be very repetitive, which helps you to not only remember but retain the word or words you’ve been introduced too. This article from University College London provides a compelling list of great apps to aid your English language learning journey. Two of the most popular and well-known language apps are Duolingo and Rosetta Stone.
We’ve provided seven thrilling and enjoyable ways to help you improve your English vocabulary in just 30 days. Find the time every day, make goals and commit to improving your vocabulary.
Building a better vocabulary starts with you! Developing a great vocabulary depends on frequent and sustained exposure to words. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. With this list, you have all the tools you need to increase your vocabulary. All seven activities aim to guide you in your use of the English language can be done at your own pace and in your own time but of course, the more time you dedicate to building your vocabulary, the better. Our goal is to inspire and help you improve your vocabulary to help you improve your confidence, develop a better understanding of the English language, and make it easier for you to speak English.
Did you enjoy our list of seven way to improve your English vocabulary? Let us know what you think in the comments and be sure share this article!
ALCC. (2016). 5 Ways Word Games Can Improve Your Vocabulary. Retrieved from
Andrade, F. (2021). How to improve your vocabulary without overusing the dictionary. Retrieved from https://medium.com/learn-languages-with-tv/how-to-improve-your-vocabulary-without-overusing-the-dictionary-a137c47a7335#:~:text=Watch%20TV%20shows%20with%20high,language%20thanks%20to%20word%20repetition.
Common Sense Education. (2021). Great Vocabulary Games, Apps, and Sites. Retrieved from
Dale, N. (2020). 5 Benefits of Journaling for English. Retrieved from https://www.realenglishspeaker.com/improve-your-english-writing/#:~:text=Journaling%20forces%20you%20to%20learn,vocabulary%20and%20improve%20your%20grammar..
InferCabulary. (2021). Top 5 Reasons Why Vocabulary Matters. Retrieved from
JOCRF. (2021). Effective Ways to Build your Vocabulary. Retrieved from
Lingualift. (2021). 7 Sure-Fire Ways to Drastically Improve Your Vocabulary. Retrieved from
Litemind. (2021). 10 Sure-Fire Strategies to Improve Your Vocabulary. Retrieved from
Lizzy. (2017). 4 surprising benefits of music in learning English. Retrieved from https://ejoy-english.com/blog/benefits-music-learning-english/.
Mango Languages. (2020). 5 tech settings you need to change immediately when learning a language. Retrieved from https://blog.mangolanguages.com/adjust-your-tech-settings-for-language-learning-success.
Melanie. (2015). Improve Your English by Reading Children’s Book Series. Retrieved from
Parsons, S. (2016). Word Games Develop Vocabulary. Retrieved from http://thinkingtalking.co.uk/word-games-develop-vocabulary/#:~:text=Word%20games%20really%20can%20improve,we%20need%20for%20learning%20words.&text=By%20making%20it%20fun%20we,them%20motivated%20about%20learning%20words.
Takelessons. (2016). 10 Genius ways to use your smartphone to learn a language. Retrieved from https://takelessons.com/blog/learn-a-language-smartphone-z14.
UCL. (2019). The best apps to improve your vocabulary. Retrieved from https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/discover-ucl/best-apps-improve-vocabulary/#:~:text=Whether%20you%20are%20a%20native,the%20course%20of%20your%20lifetime.&text=Apps%20can%20help%20you%20improve,GCSEs%20and%2For%20A%20levels.
Webb, S., & Rodgers, M.P.H. (2009). Vocabulary Demands of Television Programs. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2009.00509.x.
Tv shows and Movies List