8th Grade Vocabulary Tips: How to Improve Your Vocabulary

Even though OMG and LOL were added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011, texting shorthand probably won't be on standardized tests or help you understand your textbooks. Consider some of the following painless ways to learn a word a day.

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Ways to Increase Your Vocabulary

Keep a New Word Journal

Have you ever listened to a song and wondered what a certain word meant? Music, like poetry or storytelling, uses words to create images in your mind. Having a wealth of words to choose from is helpful if you want to write the next hit song. When you're reading a book or listening to lyrics, look up words you don't know and write their definitions down in a notebook. Doing so can help you understand and appreciate the story or music better.

Each page in your personalized dictionary can have a different word so that you have room to write down meanings, sentences using the word, related words, how it makes you feel or even drawings illustrating the word. Before looking up the definition of a word, you might try figuring out its meaning from the context. Write down your first impressions and guesses and compare them to the actual definitions. You might find that you knew the meaning all along. Try to use your new word in conversation during that week to help you remember it.

Fill Out the Sunday Crossword

Crossword puzzles are a fun way to build vocabulary. If your parents get the newspaper, see how much you can complete yourself first and then ask them for help. You can also find interactive versions online that may allow you to reveal a letter as a clue.

Download a Vocabulary App to Your Phone

Take a minute from texting your friends to learn a new word. Better yet, use your new word in a text and impress them with your cleverness. Vocabulary game applications can be downloaded directly to your phone, so that you can play them while you're waiting for your parents to pick you up. Some apps record high scores, so you can challenge your brother or sister to a battle of the minds.

Write a Rhyming Poem or Song

What do rappers, hip-hop artists and Shakespeare have in common? They all use words that rhyme. If you've ever tried to come up with rhyming verses that have a certain meaning, you know that it's not easy. Listen to some hip-hop music or look up lyrics on the Internet, and then try your hand at writing a few lines. You'll find that you don't need to be a nerd to learn a new word.

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