Ways of helping students to remember vocabulary

It has been estimated that we have to see or come across a word seven times before we remember it - and that's just remembering the word, not necessarily remembering what it means!
Sometimes we're surprised that the students don't remember a word - "But it was yesterday's lesson!" we wail! But if that was the first time, or even the second or third, that they'd come across it, it is unlikely that they'll remember it. We need to give them a lot of exposure to the word, preferably in different contexts.
It is also easier to remember different words if they are taught in 'sets'. For example, 'bed', 'chair', 'table', 'desk' could all go into a furniture set; 'tomato', 'carrot', 'chicken', 'chips' go in a food set. Of course, you can always make the sets wider or narrower, depending on your class, e.g. 'furniture' or 'bedroom furniture', 'food' or 'vegetables'.

You can draw things on the board for students to label, or give them copies to do individually or in pairs (furniture, food, parts of the body, animals, etc.). A lot of people remember words better when they're associated with a picture.
Jumbled words
Later, or in a different lesson, you could give them the same words with their letters jumbled, e.g. deb, hraic, batel, keds, and they have to unjumble them. Working on words in this way, helps some people to fix them in their minds, and to remember the spelling.
Telling stories or describing scenes with all the words in them also helps students to remember vocabulary. For example, with the furniture set you could describe a room: "Well my room's a bit small so there isn't much space for a lot of furniture. The bed's right up against the wall and there's an old chair in the corner. I haven't got a desk - I usually do my work at the kitchen table." etc. You could ask the students to draw the scene you describe, or fill in relevant parts of a drawing you've already copied for them.
Asking the students to sort words into their own categories can also help them to remember them. For example, you could give them the furniture, food, parts of the body vocabulary all jumbled up and ask them to sort them into sets. They may sort them in a completely different way, for example, long and short words, words learned yesterday and words learned last week. It doesn't really matter because the activity of thinking about the words in order to sort them all have helped them to remember them.
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