Why I Am Obsessed With Learning Vocab 📝 (ft. My Lady Jane & SAT Flashcards!)
My name is Zoie, and I am obsessed with learning new vocab.
I suppose a better way to put that is this:
I am in love with words.
Utterly, completely in love with words.
My love for words is also why I love reading so much. It’s the reason why I started this blog and wrote a 98,000 word novel. I love words in the way they allow me to express myself, communicate with others, and educate myself about the world.
But more than anything, I love words because they allow me to tell stories in the way that I can best express them.
Yes, I am capable of expressing myself through music, watercolors, and sketches, but my point of communication is strongest and most accurate through the written word. And because I want to improve even further in my writing to better communicate with others (and you guys! 😋), I’ve been making an active effort this past year to learn new vocabulary.
Why did this start suddenly this past year?
Well, let’s start from the very beginning of this story:
Studying for the SAT.
Ah, the SAT. The very thought of it stresses high school students out tremendously as it supposedly determines one’s entire future and whether one will have a happy, successful life. Hmmmmm. 🤨 Anyways, I bought my very first (and only) SAT review book a few years back because I thought it would be fun to look through it. When I realized that there were flashcards in the back of the prep book, I ignored everything else in the book and dived into studying the flashcards.
Since I was studying for fun and not with the intention of acing the SAT, I actually loved looking through the vocab flashcards. 😊 I made myself a plan to study a few a day, and eventually I got through the entire stack with a pretty good understanding of each of the words.
Now, those yellow SAT vocab flashcards call a clear plastic bag its home. I haven’t mastered all of the words on the flashcards, but in the end, SAT vocabulary isn’t inclusive of all the vocab I want to know in life. I needed other resources to learn vocab…
And this, my friend, is where my lovely models of the day comes in:
My very bookish copy of
My Lady Jane!
And don’t forget my other model…
1,200 Words You Should Know to Sound Smart!
You probably recognize Robert W. Bly’s book from my Barnes & Nobles Book Haul post, but if you don’t, here’s a brief description for it:
1,200 Words You Should Know to Sound Smart lists exactly 1,200 (very fancy indeed) words in alphabetical order that are supposedly intended to make you sound more intelligent if you know how to use them. Each word comes with the pronunciation, definition, and example sentence.
Now, remember how, in my Barnes & Nobles book haul post, I said this?
If I want to get a little crazy with this and really master the words in this book, I can make flashcards… but I don’t know if I’m going to do that yet. 😇
Well, readers, I did indeed go a little crazy, and I most definitely made flashcards for myself. 😋 In fact, in the past few months, I’ve made flashcards for all the words in the “A” chapter of 1,200 Words You Should Know to Sound Smart…
… and despite only studying the words that start with an “A” in this book, I’ve noticed myself understanding a lot more sentences now with words I’ve been studying from Bly’s book. (Wow! 😮)
Don’t you guys love the feeling of seeing a word you’ve just learned in a piece of text, and realizing that because you studied that word before, you now know what it means every time you see it?
That feeling is literally one of the best bookish feelings in the world. 😍😍 It feels so empowering to know what words mean because I’ve put the effort and time into studying and understanding them. By knowing more vocabulary, I’m able to understand the stories of others more, and that’s really all I can ask for when reading a book or listening to someone talk. 😊
So, how have I been making flashcards? Well, *putting on glasses to look more professional* I take a stack of normal-sized flashcards and cut them in half. On the blank side, I write down the vocab word (and possibly the pronunciation underneath, if it’s a pronunciation I might forget easily); on the lined side, I write down the part of speech and definition.
For studying, I simply look at the words and mentally say the definition of the word. Sometimes I look back at the book to read the example sentences Bly has listed to refresh myself on the correct usage of the word.
I know some people think studying vocabulary with flashcards is tedious, but I actually find this method to be the most effective way for studying new words. I don’t use flashcards for anything other than vocab, so whenever I do have flashcards in my hands, I immediately jump into the vocab-studying zone. 😊 Oh, and also, every time I see a word that I’ve learned from 1,200 Words You Should Know to Sound Smart in book I’m reading, I get even more motivated to sit down and learn more vocabulary. 💕💕
Talking about reading books… how does My Lady Jane relate to this post, you may ask?
Well, as you can see in the picture above, I take notes while I read, and My Lady Jane was no exception! I found the book hilarious at first and took notes of moments I found funny, but as the pages flew by and the story began to drag, I found myself less amused with the story and more excited for it to end. 😅 Nevertheless, I always try to find at least one valuable aspect of the books I read, and it just so happened that My Lady Jane had a very good collection of new vocab words! Thus, while trudging through the very slooooooow story, I took joy in using yellow mini markers to tab any new words I wanted to later go back and look up the definition for. 👍
I can’t emphasize how worthwhile it is to note new vocab that you come across while reading. If you don’t take the time to understand those words now, you still won’t know what they mean the next time you encounter them. I’ve only started to mark vocab with post-its this past year, and the payback is so worthwhile… if you also take the time to study them afterwards. In many ways, it feels like I’m being pulled out of the dark as I’m learning all these new words, since I’m able to read books with so much more clarity now. I would highly recommend you start taking note of new vocabulary that you come across whilst reading the many books you’ll devour throughout this year! 😉📚
So now you know why I am obsessed with words and how I learn new vocabulary! 😊
Before you leave, remember to…
Are you a fellow lover of words? What makes you passionate about words — is it the storytelling aspect, the communication aspect, or something else? Does anyone else tab new vocab words while reading to get back to after finishing the book? Are flashcards the most effective way to study vocabulary, or do you have better methods? Share your thoughts below! 📝
Thank you so much for stopping by Whisked Away By Words,
and I’ll cya next time in my next post! 😋