Memory Tips for the English Learner


For the ESL learner, memorizing English words can be a tough challenge. In fact, it is an obstacle for anyone learning a foreign language; those words can get stuck at the tip of your tongue, and it just feels like you’ll never get them down. People often think this is because they have not revised or practiced using these words long enough to be etched into their memory. While these can be two viable causes, sometimes the reason can be as simple as the way these words have been learned.

The secret to memory is that it needs connections. Does the word remind you of a color, picture, or story? You can have more than one connection – in fact, the more connections you can make with the word, the easier it will be to remember it.

The good news is that there are techniques that can help you memorize vocabulary! At ECSD, we want to make it as easy as possible for our students to learn these words, so – as recounted by Wiktor – here are a few tips to improve your connection-making and word-learning memory:

1) Make vocabulary lists. Make a list of all the vocabulary words you want to remember. Study, edit, and add to these lists. Practicing with flashcards is a fantastic way to memorize these words as well.

2) Use word associations. After running down your list, try to make connections between these words. Try to make the phrases/words relate to each other to help you remember them, and make sure to talk about these connections in English (this will help!).

3) Connect them to visuals. Does the word remind you of a color or a shape? Do you think of a certain picture? Can you create a story around that word? Connecting English words to visual images or contexts can help you remember that word later on.

Now that you have these handy tricks under your belt, your vocabulary repository will be rich and continuously growing!