Tips for Learning New Vocabulary Words

The Value of Having Students List Words in Alphabetical Order


One of the first lessons that children learn is alphabetizing. In fact, many books for children list key words alphabetically.  However, this can be difficult for writers when trying to write about a specific topic.  An example of this is writing a book on types of animals from Aardvark to Zebra. Does this method have any value when students are trying to learn words?  In fact, this method is a proven memory aid used throughout life. By alphabetizing vocabulary lists, students are using a mnemonic memory device.

About Mnemonic Memory and Alphabetization
Mnemonics is a technique used to aid memory by creating an association between facts, making them easier to remember.  It is accomplished by using the visual cortex to simplify memorization.  Mnemonic techniques should be used in conjunction with actively recalling the memory during the learning process, which helps reinforce memory.  By sequencing words, students have help in spelling, math, alphabetizing and reading comprehension, building a base for future education.

Other Uses for Alphabetizing
By learning to alphabetize, students effectively use libraries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, glossaries, phone books and other ordered reference information.  Additionally, it can help with organizational skills.  Alphabetizing helps students with problem solving and teaches them the classification system.  In fact, most students understand number sequencing and the alphabet order at an early age.  Alphabetizing merely helps reinforce these lessons for students.  As an effective way to aid memory, students should practice these skills.

Making Alphabetizing Fun
Learning to alphabetize can be tedious for young children, but there are ways to make it fun.  Create games by making word cards or picture cards and having students alphabetize them.  Start with a couple cards and begin to add more as students grasp the concept. In addition, most children enjoy creating an alphabet book with pictures that emphasize specific letters. Begin by letting each word represent a different letter in the alphabet. Next, add a couple of words that start with the same letter, but have different second letters. Finally, make the list more difficult by adding similar words.
Alphabetization is one of the keys to organization and research. By making learning fun, students can easily master the concept. Using worksheets and sorting games, students quickly become proficient at learning to place words in alphabetical order. As a result, students learn skills that can be applied to real life situations.