Tips for Learning New Vocabulary Words

How to Create an Effective Glossary


All students should learn how to create an effective glossary when writing a report for school. A glossary is simply a list of terms that a book or report uses followed by definitions. As a result, glossaries are useful tools for explaining terminology needed in a future test, or technical terms and uncommon words that a reader may not understand. In addition, a glossary should always be located at the end of a report or used in an appendix.

Words to Include in a Glossary
Students should include unfamiliar words or technical terms used in a paper in a glossary.  Underline or italicize the words in the body of the report and add a footnote directing readers to the glossary; the footnote should identify the location of the glossary. Additionally, glossaries are always in alphabetical order with definitions following each term. With this in mind, terms should be in bold type and double-spaced to make it easy for readers to find the word.

Tips for Choosing Glossary Words
There are some very basic guidelines for choosing the words to include in a glossary. For instance, if a word has three or more syllables, or if a word has more than one meaning and the definition is not common, it should be included in a glossary. Likewise, references that are not understood and words that are no longer used in modern technology should be included in the glossary. Finally, slang words and colloquialisms should be included as well.

Ideas to Make Glossary Writing Fun
It is not difficult to learn how to write an effective glossary. First, give students strips of paper with different terms written on them. Next, have them alphabetize the words and glue them onto a piece of paper with spaces in between each word for writing definitions. Have students research the meaning of each word and write the definition after the pasted word.  In addition, write words in one color and definitions in another and always remember to use a title page.
Writing a report is a process that includes many parts including a beginning, middle and an end.  Once the report is completed, there should be a title page, footnotes, a glossary and an appendix. A glossary is an effective tool for learning difficult or unusual words within a reading selection and students should know how to write one effectively.