Under the Hood The science of vocabulary building

Four thousand children in 37 cities and 15 states set a new Guinness World Record for "largest vocabulary lesson" last week, through a vocabulary-focused read aloud organized by PNC's "Grow Up Great" program. But even as educators rally to the "close the word gap" through high profile efforts such as this one, new research shows that the task may not be quite so clear as increasing the sheer number of words children hear. Continue reading...
When it comes to word learning, a lot of people will ask, "How many words should you learn in a day?" Setting a daily goal makes any long-term learning or self improvement project less overwhelming. The only problem with this approach? The number of words you can learn in a single day is zero. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Vocabulary
In a piece in The New York Times Magazine's recent education issue with the provocative headline "Why Flunking Exams is Actually a Good Thing," science reporter Benedict Carey delves into the science of pretesting (or using testing as a way to study and learn), an idea that suggests that failing to answer a test question correctly is one of the best ways to stimulate our brains to learn. Continue reading...
Recently, science writer Annie Murphy wrote about "E-memory—electronic memory, the kind that's available on a computer" and "O-memory—organic memory, the old-fashioned sort that resides in the brain." Here's how that distinction can help us think about the way we learn words. Continue reading...
Learning words on Vocabulary.com may seem simple. But in fact, as you play, our game is synthesizing large sets of data on how millions of users interact with the words you're working on. All of this behind-the-scenes number-crunching is intended to make your experience with the game as efficient and enjoyable as possible. Continue reading...
There's a difference between wearing a style and owning it. For learners of English and even those born into it, using a word has a lot to do with feeling that it "belongs to me." Continue reading...
Recently, an SAT tutor using Vocabulary.com told us that the greatest challenge most of us face when learning vocabulary is being fuzzy on words, "thinking we know what a word means, but when push comes to shove, discovering that we do not." Has this ever happened to you? Continue reading...
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