Vocabulary Tips for our Posterity!

By Monica O’Donnell

Learning vocabulary words can be a scary, scary time during the school day.




  • The student sees the word.
  • The student does not know how to pronounce the word.
  • The student does not understand how to use it in a sentence even though an example is provided. If the student is not clear on the pronunciation, and the use, then how is the student supposed to learn the word and apply it to their daily lives?

It can also be scary for the learning coach (LC).

  • Student shows the LC the word. LC does not know how to pronounce the word.
  • LC cannot even use it in a sentence. If the LC cannot pronounce it, use it in a sentence, then how can the LC help their student master it?

It’s been a while since most of us were in school, and, BOY, times have changed.

Vocabulary has changed!

Think words today are like Mississippi?

M I S S – I S S –I P P I


How about?

straggle – 5th grade

convalesce – 6th grade

irascible – 7th grade

rapacious – 8th grade

Take a look at efficacious.


There you go?

You lost?

If students can learn the Greek and Latin roots, identify other words that use the same roots, and remember a picture that goes with the word, then it is my belief, that mastery can be accomplished.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I would recommend grabbing a yellow pad and a pencil.

  • Rewrite the words on the yellow pad.
  • Underline the root. (sub, de, post, ante, etc.)
  • On a new sheet, group the words together by their root.
  • Brainstorm – Can you think of more words that begin with that root? Sometimes, if you know that a bicycle has two wheels, then the word bilateral may also have something to do with two.

Now that you have rewritten the words, grouped them by the root, and brainstormed other words, now you can create your notecards.

First step: Grab some note cards.

Second step: Write the word down on the front of the notecard.

Third step: Underline the root and label it on the front right corner with a G for Greek or L for Latin.

Fourth step: Come up with a synonym or one word to remind you of the definition and write it on the back.

Fifth and final step: Draw a picture using the letters of the word to help you remember the definition.



Let me end with the word vaunt.

I hope you will be able to use these vocabulary tips so you can vaunt

about your student’s vocabulary skills!

I hope you and I are unanimous in this.


 ~Mrs. O

International Academy English Teacher