Want to improve your vocabulary? Start a wordboard

This will probably come as no surprise given how much I read, but I love words. I love reading any words that are beautifully strung together, whether it’s in the form of poetry or foreign languages or rap music. Hearing an articulate person speak is like music to me, and reading The New York Times or The New Yorker fills me with envy.

So six months ago, I decided to make a concentrated effort to improve my vocabulary, and the wordboard was born.

A wordboard is as simple as it sounds – I put words that I want to remember on a board.

And while some of my other self-improvement projects crash and burn *cough happiness jar cough*, the wordboard has stuck. And I have to say – over the last six months, my vocabulary has improved significantly. Here’s how to make your own if you’re so inclined.

How to start a wordboard

  1. Keep a list of all the words you don’t know.

When I come across a word or concept I don’t know, I write it down in my “Words to put on wall” list. I use Wunderlist for this.

2. Select which words you will actually use.

Then, I pare down the list. I take out any words that I’ll never use (e.g. genuflect) and keep words that might be useful to me in speech or writing (e.g. moral licensing).

3. Put words you want to learn on your wall.

I create cards with a Sharpie and notecard, and pin them to the wall. My wordboard is right next to my bed so that I see the words every morning, which (hopefully) improves retention.

4. Refresh the board once a month.

Once a month, I take down the words that I’ve learned and put up new ones.

Et voilà! $20 + minimal effort = better vocabulary.

Would you ever create a wordboard? Is this the nerdiest thing you’ve ever heard or are you interested in making one?

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

2 thoughts on “Want to improve your vocabulary? Start a wordboard”

  1. I think a Word Board is a great idea. Like you I have always loved
    Words. It has been said that after you are introduced to someone
    You need to say their name three times in order to remember it.
    I have a English Vocabulary study box of words and keep an index
    Of words, but I have not really learned many because they are not
    As available a your word board. I have been surprised when because of my vast reading of books that my vocabulary has not improved
    that much. You are seeing the words, tracking them in your brain, therefore learning them. I must try your system!

    Love, Gamma

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