Vocabulary Building

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will mcculloch

Junior Member
Jul 5, 2003
Member Type
English Teacher

I’m now trying to start some sort of petition to show publishers why organized vocabulary books should be made available to all language learners – in order to help them independently improve their skills outside the classroom. Anyone wishing to receive free photocopiable pages of such a book, together with an introductory lesson plan, should simply send a quick message to WSLesson@yahoo.co.uk

Awareness of Wordsurfing is now steadily growing due to more exposure through, for example ….

* A Spotlight on Wordsurfing at the British Council’s SearchEnglish website ( Browse>Methodology>Lexical Approach)
* Links to WS from an increasing number of websites, including many university departments specialising in vocabulary acquisition and learner independence.
* The article “Beat the fossils to it” (EL Gazette October 2003)

If you would like to see organized vocabulary books such as WS being made widely available to students –then please join other teachers at http://www.wordsurfing.co.uk/47352.html

... and help speed up the process.

Also, if you would like to suggest further articles or links for the WS site – or have any other comments to make – do please get in touch.

Best wishes

Will McCulloch
Vocabulary Developer


Brief reasons in favour of the availability of organized vocabulary books
* Writing words encourages the learning process
* Investigating words promotes a wider and deeper familiarity
* Using words regularly leads to knowledge
* Such books act as a long-term, organized focal point
* They provide students with an excellent opportunity to “Learn by Doing” – and to be motivated by seeing their own proven progress.

Major features …. The WS Technique
* enables students to move away from learning new words by single translations asap
* moves them towards knowing how to use new words in different ways asap through investigation and practice.
* promotes more use of dictionaries – and especially computer versions
* encourages independent learning outside of the classroom
* identifies the most frequently used words that need to be known
* helps to prioritise the importance of all new words
* uses “mind-mapping” to practice the most immediately important new words
* shows long-term progress using a simple gap-filling and highlighting system, which develops like a jigsaw and gradually shows more of a picture.
* helps students to immerse themselves in a language and acts as a confidence building stepping stone towards conversational practice.
* uses a flexible format that allows students to use the resource in their own time, at their own pace – and in their own way

Such an organized vocabulary book aims to
* help to prevent “new words” from falling down a “forgetting curve”
* add to the efficiency of the learning process
* develop good learning habits
* emphasise the importance of vocabulary development, particularly during the early stages of the learning curve ... and ...
* stress the motivational advantages of strategies that allow students to prioritise their own learning efforts according to individual needs, wants and interests.


Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Nov 13, 2002
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Native Language
British English
Home Country
Current Location
Hi, Will,

Which publishers did you have in mind? ;-)

will mcculloch

Junior Member
Jul 5, 2003
Member Type
English Teacher

Thanks for your reply

To answer your question ------- The ones that can do the best job in making WS available to language learners.

WS , as I see it, is a resource that is currently unavailable to students - and, after working with the idea for some time now, I think (know) that such a resource can make a very positive contribution to the language learning process.

Best wishes
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