HOW TO LEARN VOCABULARY WITH PICTURES
Teaching young children VOCABULARY is not very easy yet it can be lots of fun once you put yourself into their shoes and think about what makes it attractive and enjoyable. Teaching children at a very early age is challenging and a teacher can come up with several ideas on how to make them like English. Teachers can cooperate with parents to make it possible for pupils to practice further the newly learned vocabulary. Even though we might not have the latest gadgets or internet connection to let them listen to or watch videos in English, we can use pictures to arise their interest.
If we do so we are helping to create the so-called “ PICTIONARIES’’ which have a great influence on the process of acquiring English or even fixing certain words or patterns. Basically, instead of the words, we use pictures. The use of pictures helps visual learners to remember the word, meaning, and sometimes context as well. Words are abstract and rather difficult to remember, whereas visuals are concrete.
Visuals stimulate emotions thus leading to long-lasting memories. The use of pictures is more effective than the use of words because they are easier to remember and retell. Children can see pictures, recall and retell or describe a person, a place, an object, or a specific action or situation that is shown in a picture.
Many elementary classrooms have a word wall that is organized alphabetically and with the words, the class has been learning throughout the year. Usually, the card has only a word on it and nothing else, but we can add a picture that might represent the meaning of the word.
Parents can use the same procedure. They can look for pictures that are child-friendly and high-interest to make connections to the words. Children love to see pictures of animals in the wild, and cartoon characters doing ordinary things whether it is real or drawn images. They can also connect a story to the image enabling readers to learn a lot from pictures and words together.
For example, parents can talk about the picture with their child while trying to fix or revise a certain word in English. This will help the child remember the connection between the image and the vocabulary when they look up the words on a poster, a book with illustrations, a cartoon character, or even on billboards.
One of the most famous cartoon characters in Turkey is Elif in ‘’Elif and her friends’’ or ‘’Elif’s dreams’’. Elif is a cartoon about fruits and vegetables. She has got a cousin, Selim who goes to the same school as Elif. She has other friends, Kerem, Ayse, and Ahmed. There is also teacher Ipek. Elif learns new things every day and refreshes her knowledge with fun games.
Many children watch cartoons on television or YouTube so they are familiar with this character and can associate her character with the words ‘’fruit’’, ‘’vegetables’’, ‘’friends’’, ‘’ school’’, ‘’teacher’’, ‘’colors’’, and many other things. Children will immediately recall what actions Elif did, or what words did Elif use for certain fruits, vegetables, or classroom objects.
If parents or teachers create an environment rich in posters, pictures, or flashcards of the vocabulary covered at school or information acquired during a specific period will help them strengthen their memory and as a result not forget what they have been learning all year round.
To sum it up, learning vocabulary is just a picture away. Either you can draw it or you can cut it from a magazine or a newspaper. You are the one who decides what is the right way to learn vocabulary. But if you want to have fun and assess in a joyful way you can choose to create your dictionary with pictures. Don’t lose time! English vocabulary enrichment is just a picture away. Take it!