Under the Hood The science of vocabulary building

A new study of how word learning lights up reward centers in the brain shows that word learning makes us as happy as taking drugs or eating great food. It also helps to explain why our vocabulary game is so much fun. Continue reading...
An SAT tutor's story about how one motivationally challenged student was able to use list-building — as well as list-learning — to make words' meanings really stick in his brain. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Teaching, Vocabulary
It's that time of year -- when you vow to do better in all things and yet, even as you solemnly swear, you know most of us will abandon our resolutions early on in the coming year. The good news? You're here on Vocabulary.com, which is designed to transform your current resolution into a word learning habit that affects the way you speak, read, write, and think. Here's how we make your resolution stick. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Students, Vocabulary
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...
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