Thursday, August 25, 2005

Vocabulary Notebook

A recently published book by Keith Folse is Vocabulary Myths: Applying Second Language Research to Classroom Teaching. He writes about how he has his students keep their vocabulary notebooks. He has them write four types of information for each new word or phrase they put in their notebook:
  • the word or phrase
  • the definition
  • a translation
  • and the words used with the word.

This information is put into two columns. In one column is the word and the definition. Across from the word is the translation. Under the translation are the words used with the new word with a blank used to show where the word was in the original phrase.

Let's look at how this works. I will use French as the first language.

The word I will use is knife. Under knife I write a definition: a tool with an edge used for cutting. Across from knife I write couteau, the French translation. Underneath couteau, I write _______ to cut the meat, which is the phrase I found the word in.

It would look something like this.

knife couteau
a tool with an edge used for cutting ______ to cut the meat.

Make sure to skip at least one line before starting a new word.

To review the new words, use a notecard or piece of paper that will cover the vocabulary information. But cut out one corner.

Use this card to review by putting the open space over the part of the vocabulary information you want to use and try to remember the other information. In other words, you could show the translation and try to remember the English word. Put the empty space over the definition and try to remember the English word or translation. There are four possibilities.

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