4 ways students can expand their vocabulary in any situation


Many students aim to expand their vocabulary, whether they’re in elementary school learning new words or high school students preparing for college entrance exams. It’s essential for students to learn different words with similar meanings as well as the emotional connotation of particular terms and phrases. Some terms are formal while others are casual and certain terms are only used in specific professions or fields, often called jargon. Additionally, ESL students want to expand their vocabulary from the bottom up so they can work towards fluency. Whatever a student’s goal is there are some ways they can expand their vocabulary and become a better writer. Expanded vocabulary practice can also improve any student’s reading comprehension skills.

1. Academic reading

Students who are preparing for the SAT or ACT should think about doing a little bit of academic reading – our Orange County test prep tutors are here to help you succeed. This type of reading is different from reading a novel or other fiction text because it tends to be mostly informative in nature and contains a lot of terms specific to a particular subject. Younger students can also participate in this reading as long as it’s age-appropriate. A student’s classroom teacher is always one of the best resources when compiling a reading list of age and skill level appropriate text for students in any grade.

2. Word of the day

Students can learn new vocabulary one word at a time by using simple and easy online tools such as thesaurus.com to learn synonyms and antonyms of any particular term. Many online study tools provide suggestions that have an emotionally similar term and will also inform students which words are in current usage and which ones are archaic. Learning just one word every day is a great way to expand vocabulary overtime because it gives students a chance to absorb the meaning of a word and use it in their daily life rather than studying a list of dozens of words at once that are easily forgotten later (READ: 5 Tips for Success in English Class from a Private Irvine English Tutor).

3. Writing skills and word variety

Many students will use the same word over and over again in a homework assignment or a research paper, ultimately making their writing less interesting than it could be if they were able to vary their word choice. Students are encouraged to underline or highlight words they use over and over again in their writing and look up synonyms. Students can talk with their teacher or private tutor to find out which words they tend to repeat and also determine which synonyms are the most appropriate in a specific situation. At first, students may choose synonyms with an emotional meaning that doesn’t quite fit within the parameters of their assignment but, over time, students will gain the skill of word choice and become better writers.

4. Film and TV

Some students understand new words better if they can hear them spoken rather than read them in a book. Students can learn tons of new vocabulary words by watching film and television shows to figure out which words are appropriate in a given conversation. Film and TV shows are especially helpful for ESL students who want to expand their vocabulary and work towards fluency. It’s helpful to see a character’s reaction to certain words or phrases and determine if they were used in a comic or dramatic situation. ESL students will also be able to pick up on the formality of a situation and determine if they should be using that word in a professional situation or only in a casual discussion with close friends.

Our in-home Irvine English tutors are here to help your child expand their vocabulary.

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