Tips for Learning New Vocabulary Words

Getting Students Interested in Vocabulary


It is common for students to become withdrawn from school when lessons are uninteresting and fail to capture their attention. A good lesson should touch on subjects that excite students, while simultaneously teaching important information.  For that matter, a spelling lesson requiring students to look up vocabulary related to filing taxes is not going to be relevant, whereas a lesson about sports will most likely reach the majority of your students.

Why Sports?
Sports is great subject to use when teaching any topic, because of the large variety of options. While not every student may be a soccer fan, there is most likely a sport of interest for each person in the room. People are excited to discuss their favorite teams, players and jerseys. Perhaps it is the competitive nature or the fun of getting together with friends to watch a big game, everyone is a little bit happier when sports are involved.

Sports and Vocabulary
When teaching spelling, most instructors try to encourage students to develop a vocabulary around a certain subject. Once the subject is chosen, students may be assigned homework that requires them to go home and create a list of several words related to the topic. Assigning a category like sports creates motivation to complete an assignment, because it is something they are really passionate about.

Sports and Everyday Life
The great thing about teaching spelling through sports vocabulary is that it is relevant to most students. Whether they play on an afternoon soccer team or a late-night softball league, sports vocabulary is most likely present. After a game or match, students can go home and look up the words that they heard during the game, such as “goal” and “pitcher”. After a few assignments like this, many students may find themselves motivated to do this on a regular basis, even if it is not a homework assignment.

Spelling and Sports
When developing a lesson plan, there are tons of creative ways to incorporate spelling and sports. Try playing a game of “Spelling Baseball” with your class. After hitting the ball, the student has to accurately spell a word in order to be able to stay on base. If a word is spelled incorrectly, the student is out, and has to sit on the bench with the rest of their teammates. As a result, the competitive nature of sports transfers into academic life, creating a strong desire to learn to spell.

Other Educational Sports Games
Another example of a lesson plan including sports related tasks is “Spelling Olympics”. Each Olympic event focuses on different spelling tasks, such as spelling bees, spelling baseball, hangman, etc. The students go through a variety of rounds, receiving medals for spelling challenges that they win. With this in mind, any lesson plan that involves sports and competition is sure to get the students’ attention.

If you are looking to inspire your students to learn, sports spelling lessons are a great way to do just that. However, this is merely an example as there are a myriad of other ways to get students interested in spelling. Just try to concentrate on their personal interests and use turn spelling into a game.