This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Search BBC
BBC World Service
BBC BBC News BBC Sport BBC Weather BBC World Service Worldservice languages
spacer gif
You are in: Home > Grammar, Vocabulary & Pronunciation > Ask about English
Learning English
spacer gif
learn it! title
Extending your vocabulary
reading

Zhang Xiaoying from China asks:

I have been studying English for one and a half years in Singapore government school. I think my problem in English is my poor vocabulary for comprehension as I failed my comprehension exam yesterday, however I tried very hard but still can't improve.
Could you help me?

 

Roger replies:more questions
I assume that your question, Zhang, is all about extending your vocabulary through reading comprehension activities.

First of all, make sure that you choose texts which you are interested in. It is an established fact that reading interesting texts makes the language that is used in them more memorable.

 

Try also to choose texts which are not too difficult for your level if you really want to consolidate the vocabulary within them when you are reading. Work on guessing the meaning and use of the lexis in the context in which it occurs. If the text is appropriate for your level, your guesses will almost certainly be correct. Underline expressions or vocabulary that appeals to you as an aid to memorizing it.

I find that one useful way of focusing on words and their meanings or usage is through cloze text activity. There are several varieties of this and the one I have chosen below is open cloze or gap-fill in which you have to think of a word which best completes the clause:

Brenda.............to work over the weekend in order to catch up and she...............her tutor's offer of additional help.


There may be other equally good options, but the ones that I think of are agreed and accepted respectively.


BBC copyright
 
Learning English | News English | Business English | Watch and Listen
 
Grammar and Vocabulary | Communicate | Quizzes | For teachers
 
Downloads | FAQ | Contact us