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At TESOL International in Philadelphia, I gave a brief presentation on how to get students to learn words on word lists.

Here is a summary:


Students make FLASHCARDS.

vOn one side of the card students print the word.

vOn the other side of the card, they provide

o   a definition -drawing, translation, dictionary definition, or personal example.

o   a pronunciation note –with transliteration, IPA, or their own symbols.


 Students USE the flashcards in class activities.

vStudents sort the words by:

o   part of speech

o   number of syllables

o   intonation patterns

o   alphabetical order

o   any category of meaning

vStudents take turns picking up a card and asking:

o   How do you say this word?

o   What does it mean?

o   How do you spell it?

vStudents pick up a word card and then generate meaning with the word by:

o   writing the word in a sentence

o   drawing a scene in which the word is used (emergency: a hospital)

o   saying the word in a role-play


Students review the word cards ON THEIR OWN to:  

o   practice spelling.

o   practice pronunciation.

o   remember definitions.