Vocabulary Improvement Technique #3 - Why Your Vocabulary Won't Improve From Reading Alone And What You Can Do About This
A great way to improve your vocabulary is to read constantly, on a wide range of topics. However, reading in the standard fashion probably won't be enough to improve your vocabulary dramatically - especially if you're an adult. The problem is that most people skip over unfamiliar words and rely on the other parts of the sentence to deduce the meaning of a sentence, or even worse, settle for an incomplete understanding of the material. Today we will cover a number of strategies that will help you get the most out of the time you spend reading.
Strategy 1 - Try to figure out the meaning from the context
When you are reading and come across an unfamiliar word, don't just keep reading! Stop and try to figure out the word's meaning from the context - don't just try to figure out the point of the sentence, try to figure out the meaning of the ACTUAL word in question.
Strategy 2 - Look the word up and put it on a list
Trying to figure out a word's meaning from its context is great because it gets you thinking about the word and you may even arrive at a reasonable definition. However, you shouldn't rely on this alone. If you can, you should look the word up immediately. This will allow you to see if you have come up with the correct meaning for the word. If you were right, you can keep reading without a loss of comprehension – and if you were wrong, you can learn the real definition of the word, and then move forward confidently in the text. However, before you continue reading, write the new word down so that you can use repetition later to add it to your vocabulary.
If looking up a word immediately is not possible or convenient, write the word down and look it up when you have time. Keep a list of the words you have looked up and go over them every few days until you are comfortable with them. If you are using a tool like Ultimate Vocabulary, you can look the word up and store it in a custom word list in one easy step.
Strategy 3 - Read widely
It's only logical: the more words you already know, the fewer new words you'll encounter when reading.
Many people are guilty of reading only inside a narrow range of topics related to their occupation or interests. Such people often have an excellent vocabulary for words used in certain disciplines, but fall flat on their face when presented with anything new.
New topics mean new words. If you're an engineer, try reading a business journal. If you are in sales, why not take a break and select some books about cooking or gardening.
Strategy 4 – Try using speed reading software
Reading faster is is a great way to increase your vocabulary. Think about it, the faster you read, the more words you will be exposed to and the faster your vocabulary will increase. Modern speed reading software can easily allow you to double (or even triple) your reading speed with minimal effort.
Reading and Recording with Ultimate Vocabulary
If you are currently using Ultimate Vocabulary, you have a great tool to help you get the most out of your reading. In Ultimate Vocabulary, it's easy to create a custom word list with a name you will remember, like "reading words to learn.”
When you come across a new word, add it to the list. Use Ultimate Vocabulary's exercises, tests, and features to teach you the words. Once you are confident you know a word, mark it as “mastered” and Ultimate Vocabulary will remove it from the active exercise list so that you are only focusing on the words you do not yet know perfectly.