Last week I blogged about why having a rich vocabulary is essential for students.

Today I will blog about how students can enhance their vocabulary.

Read, read, read

Needless to say, the best way to improve one’s vocabulary is by reading from sources. Fiction and non-fiction materials are musts for when students begin the Primary 5 year, especially as the English components leap into more challenging territory.

Exposing oneself to different written formats in magazines, newspapers and books will allow a student to build on new vocabulary which are integrated into a longer passage.

And what can be done for those who do not like to read?

Parents can print out newspaper or magazine articles that the child may find interesting. These short reading materials may spark interest and expose the child to new vocabulary.

Audio books have become more popular in recent years. While reading print is still my first choice, audio books can also be a good way to enhance a student’s vocabulary.

Have a dictionary or thesaurus handy

Students who want to improve their vocabulary will need to understand the meaning of new words or phrases that they come across. Having a dictionary or thesaurus close by, will allow students to check up on new words easily.

Nowadays, online dictionaries and thesaurus have become popular. Easy to download on tablets or phones, students now have no excuse to start a vocabulary log or a new word a day calendar.

Use the new words or phrases

Practice using the new vocabulary in its context whether by speech or written form. My students are asked to make sentences with the new vocabulary that they have learnt. This allows them to know how to arrange these words in context.

Often, I will see these new words appear in my students’ compositions and I feel happy that some good has come forth from the Vocabulary lists that I prepare

Have fun with vocabulary

Board games and words games are great ways to build on vocabulary and have fun at the same time. This can be done at home or in the car and be played among family members. Scrabble and Crossword board games can be found at Toys R Us while word games such as Pictionary and Hangman simply require a piece and some drawing skill. These games have also been converted into applications which you can download on devices.

To end off our series of Vocabulary lists, here is the Primary English Vocabulary and Editing List for January.


Vocabulary list

  1. subsidy – a sum of money granted by the state or a public body to help a business
  2. a close shave – a narrow escape from danger or disaster.
  3. to be on the rocks – likely to fail soon
  4. a thorn in one’s flesh – a person or thing that repeatedly annoys you
  5. relinquish – voluntarily cease to keep or claim; give up
  6. relent – allow something that you had refused to allow before
  7. cumbersome – large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry or use


  1. popular
  2. fields
  3. weather
  4. approximately
  5. audience

CHIJ St Nicholas

Vocabulary list

  1. perseverance – persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success
  2. summon – order (someone) to be present
  3. insecure – (of a person) uncertain or anxious about oneself; not confident
  4. around the clock – all day and all night
  5. see me off – accompany a person who is leaving to their point of departure.

Editing list

  1. participants
  2. journey
  3. practice
  4. complacent
  5. definitely

Henry Park SA1

Vocabulary list

  1. hollow – having a hole or empty space inside
  2. vacant – not occupied; empty
  3. inhabit – to live in a place
  4. miser – someone who has a strong wish to have money and hates to spend it
  5. spendthrift – a person who spends money in an extravagant, irresponsible way
  6. philanthropist – a person who helps the poor especially by donating large sums of money
  7. rebuke – express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behaviour or actions
  8. illustrate – to draw pictures for a book or magazine
  9. alarmingly – in a worrying or disturbing way
  10. menacingly – in a way that suggests the presence of danger; threateningly
  11. imminently – very soon

Editing list

  1. combination
  2. marathon
  3. thousands
  4. competition
  5. contestants
  6. activities

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