The Evolution of Studying Words

Anyone who knows me personally, even some of my blog followers, and certainly my former garden club students, know I am a lover of words.  A strong vocabulary has always been an asset for me. Perhaps this started back in high school where I took two years of Latin, you know, the “dead” language. But, it definitely helped me learn how decipher word roots and thus, a word’s meaning.

This was an enormous help when I was a nursing student, having to memorize the terms that flood the healthcare professions and are utilized in documentation of a client’s care and condition.  I also find it enormous help now, as I forge into the new professional world of environmental education.

I consciously recall writing out the words, their meanings, and the requisite use of the term in a sentence.  Since I am a literal learner, this methodology worked for me. I am a huge proponent of handwriting notes as a way to comprehend course material, including vocabulary. While I have command of the meaning of words, and their derivation, I am not a great speller. As a product of the phonetic method of learning spelling, I often misspell words, but this does not cause much of a problem for me with today’s technology.

Through my sons’ time in school, I was active in supporting their vocabulary at home. At one point, for a few years, we had a word wall in the kitchen at that changed every week during the summer. Then, that seemed to migrate to my youngest son’s bedroom closet doors.  There on the door, I posted 10-15 words for him to learn. Once committed to memory, I would change the words out. The words were usually related to some story we were reading together.  Most of this learning was visual, verbal, and auditory.

Gone are the days of the word walls and flashcards. (Some might still use these, but since my students are older, they have been replaced with another means to study the words).  It’s not that the “old” methods do not work. (They do and could still be used if a student so desires.)  I guess they just are not as convenient to provide a helpful “method” to all learners.  This is especially true in our district where 1:1 technology is provided for the student body.  Now, with the advent of technology, quizlets are made and students can practice with a click onto the link of their teacher’s choosing to practice words.

Such was the case last night when I walked into son’s room to see what he was up to after dinner.  He was doing a quizlet on vocab words from The Great Gatsby.  He showed me some of the words and asked if I knew a few of them.  He took great pleasure in telling me that I had “guessed” wrong on at least a couple of the words that he had thrown up on the screen as he showed me the correct definition.  But, he also was complimentary when I was able to give a an answer to corroborate the stated definition.

It was actually fun to be practicing words together again.  But, after a few minutes I retreated. This is his world, his turn to practice vocabulary to build on what he already knows.  But, in leaving, I realized that the quizlet was a great addition to some old ways of studying. Maybe, it would encourage those of a younger generation to also become a lover of words. I can only hope!

Today is Slice of Life Tuesday. This post is my submission to the supportive writing community created and hosted by


© All Text and Photographs are copyrighted by Carol Labuzzetta. No Permission to duplicate in any form, digitally or otherwise. Thank you.


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