About Anna Ferrario and Free English Materials For You
My name is Anna Ferrario and I am the creator of FreeEnglishMaterialsForYou.com. I have a Master’s Degree in European and American Languages and Literatures, and a passion for traveling and teaching. I’ve taught in different countries to primary school students, high school students, and adults, learning the importance of visual learning. My aim is to help them develop their communication abilities while reinforcing their knowledge. For this reason, I encourage creativity and I recognize the value of using Mind Maps in class. This is a way to help them relax, to have fun, and to pay attention. Brainstorming and connecting ideas while talking to each other helps them enormously. I decided to create a website to help both students and teachers. I wanted not only to share what I do, but also to improve thanks to constructive criticism. I did not expect people to like it as they do and I am grateful to all the students and teachers that follow the website, my Facebook page, and Twitter.
Tools & Strategies To Boost Vocabulary Learning
1. Creating Mind Maps
In my opinion, learning new words is essential when you want to become more confident while speaking a foreign language. There are a variety of online tools and free resources from which to gain knowledge. Personally, I need to visualize a concept in order to memorize it, that’s why I started to make mind maps and visual material for me and my students. Clearly, I encourage them to do the same. Students can easily create mind maps with Bubbl.us or other free online tools. This is an example of mind map on this topic:
As you can see, this mind map creator features some highly interactive features: users can insert web links and YouTube videos. Afterward, learners can download the mind map as an image or share it with other students or with their teacher.
2. Storing Vocabulary
In order to boost their vocabulary, I encourage students to write down every new term they learn with an example sentence. As is known, context is at the foundation of vocabulary acquisition. Often, English terms have more than one meaning, that’s why it’s so important to know when and how to use them. For example, a word like ‘trunk’ has more than five different meanings:
3. Idiomatic Vocabulary
Since I want to make students learn more effectively, I try to teach them at least the most common idioms, proverbs, and slang expressions. In this way, they improve their ability to communicate and they feel more confident.
The graphics that I create always include the new term/ idiom/ proverb/ slang expression, one or more pictures, a definition, and one or more example sentences. I also teach students how to use free online tools like Reverso, Linguee, or Glosbe to find example sentences including terms they want to learn. With Memrise or Quizlet, which are also available for free, they can easily review their vocabulary knowledge. In addition, I suggest them to make flashcards.
In my experience, both young and adult learners find it easier to remember terms with these methods. They can make their own mind maps and organize the words they learn, which drastically improves their learning process. In this way, they understand concepts better.
It is a known fact that students need to be motivated. If they are not willing to spend five to ten minutes per day to boost their vocabulary, then it will be difficult for them to improve their Language skills. That’s why I try to help them through their learning process. If learners write down a new word, read it aloud, insert it in a list or mind map and associate it with a picture, read it in a sentence, they won’t forget it.
Also, follow Keep Smiling English and don’t you ever forget to Keep Smiling! 🙂