THE FCE BLOG by Claudia Ceraso

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vocabulary Feeds

Your Thoughts are Hungry for Words
Vocabulary is food for thought. If your mind is well fed, then you will be able to frame your ideas in speaking and writing better. There is probably nothing as frustrating as to have a gap in your vocabulary. Those moments when you want to explain something in a foreign language and the words simply do not come. To enjoy becoming a speaker of a second language, we need to eat words well.

It is important to vary the ways in which you try to incorporate new words. There is no best method to learn. Yet, if learning can be action, the practice becomes more effective and meaningful. Learning words is not about memorising. Not even remembering. Do you remember how you learnt every word you know? When you learn, you simply transform yourself.

Learning is a cycle. Learning vocabulary will require consulting dictionaries, exploring new contexts for a word in your readings on the Internet and finding examples. A bit of decontextualised -some mechanical or repetitive- practice may also help. One day you may surprise yourself using richer words in your writing. That's when a learning cycle ends giving way for another one to begin.

Did you know your learning can also transform others?

Learn Free vocabulary & Give Free Rice
Learning is a powerful thing. The people involved in this initiative launched on the 7th October 2007 understand it well. Their mission is to help provide food for people in need while you learn.

"For each word you get right, we donate 10 grains of rice through the United Nations to help end world hunger."

Click there and you will find an ongoing multiple choice test. It is challenging for both: advanced students and native speakers. What is so interesting about this site is that it shows an example of learning both ways. You learn by choosing and the machine learns with your clicks too:

FreeRice automatically adjusts to your level of vocabulary. It starts by giving you words at different levels of difficulty and then, based on how you do, assigns you an approximate starting level. You then determine a more exact level for yourself as you play. When you get a word wrong, you go to an easier level. When you get three words in a row right, you go to a harder level. This one-to-three ratio is best for keeping you at the “outer fringe” of your vocabulary, where learning can take place.

Click here for details on how playing the vocabulary game helps you and others.

So let's play and feed ourselves!
Thanks to Lisa Parisi for the link.
Image: DSC_5596 - Vocabulary by theglauber

Copyright notice
Unless otherwise marked, the posts at The FCE Blog are copyright protected. You may not reproduce entire posts without written permission from the author. As the United Nations WFP is asking to spread the word, this post is copyright free. So if you do not have time to blog, with this footnote I am allowing you to cut & paste portions as needed.

Please attribute:
via The FCE Blog. Reproduced with permission.

If you use the hyperlink of this post (, your blog spreading the word will be listed here so that we can read you and comment!
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Thank you!



  • Claudia,
    We always seem to parallel each other. I just posted about Free Rice and I come here to see you beat me to the punch (I'm showing it to my class tomorrow on a private Ning network)... Also I usually visit ELT rather than here.
    I found my way here for your next post on I have an Illuminate presentation to a class (I've never met) on Monday - the topic! I had bookmarked the video in your post before, but it was a small version with no links, yours links to YouTube and saves me going to hunt for it- Thanks.
    I will have to catch up on Twitter some time (very) soon, then we will run in synchronization rather than parallel:-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 6:12 am  

  • David,
    My pleasure to have your visit and comment here too.
    Thank you for your detailed description of how you navigate the web. It's great to have someone help me model that kind of literacy to my students.
    Look forward to your tweets!

    By Blogger Claudia Ceraso, At 4:44 pm  

  • Congrats on the blog :) I have found it very useful and interesting! Keep in the good work*


    By Blogger Helena Oliveira, At 1:54 pm  

  • Helena,

    Thank you so much for the visit and the mail exchange we just shared.

    Actually, I am meeting you and your blog through this link:

    Glad to meet you -virtually. I hope we stay in touch.



    By Blogger Claudia Ceraso, At 2:51 pm  

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