By using the picture-association technique successful students are easily able to access words and their as they discover how to learn vocabulary.

The way they do this is to look up and see a picture of the word in their mind along with the connected meaning.

Every subject has new vocabulary that students must learn.  Some children may feel as if they need to master a foreign language as they move through their day in different subject areas.

The students who can master new words and their meanings naturally use a process that can be easily taught to other students.  I have used this how to learn vocabulary process successfully for many years with teachers, students and medical students, and everyone is able to make the connections and pictures they need to become a “word wizard.”

Your child will be using visual, auditory, kinesthetic learning styles channels as they learn this brain-compatible vocabulary strategy but, just as in the other strategies, will depend primarily on the visual portion of the strategy for recall during written tests.

Brain researchers have shown that the power of memory is multiplied many times when we connect an association to a picture.

Ask What Does This Remind Me Of as I Learn How To Learn Vocabulary?

An association is simply something that is connected to and reminds us of something else.  Author David Sousa says, “Whenever two events, actions or feelings are learned together, they are said to be associated, or bonded, so that the recall of one prompts the spontaneous recall of the other.  The word Romeo elicits Juliet, Batman gets Robin.”

Perhaps you have a favorite song that reminds you of a special time in your life.  The feeling that you get every time you hear the song is called an association.  In other words, you connect a certain set of feelings to a picture of the event when you hear the song.

In one of my seminars, I was illustrating this point and played a portion of Whitney Houston’s, The Greatest Love of All song.  A teacher immediately smiled and told me that this song was played as she got married.  She saw herself walking down the aisle and had very good feelings as she listened to the song in the class.

By using the picture-association technique, successful students are easily able to access words and their meanings.  The way they do this is to look up and see a picture of the word in their mind along with the connected meaning.

Materials Needed

  • 5 x 7 inch color, unlined note cards or half sheets construction paper of various colors
  • thin tipped markers

how to learn vocabulary To insure that your child knows how to learn vocabulary faster, have the child choose 3 to 5 new words to learn and then follow the example below.  If the child is younger, you may only want to select one word to learn.

Use the Visual Eye Brain Strategy you learned in Chapter 6 of Instant Learning for Amazing Grades before beginning the Word Wizard Vocabulary strategy.  This will be used to reinforce the visual memory strategy used to recall words and their meanings during the child’s written tests.

1. Have your child look at the word to be learned.  Tell them they must first make an association or connection with that word.  Since we know from medical research that our brains actually learn and recall through pictures and associations, it is very important that students create this connection first.

For example, when learning the word Portuguese word “noz” during a language class, ask your child what the sound reminds them of.  If I were the student, I might say it reminds me of nose. (This procedure is the same for English words and their definitions and even works with concept, non-noun words).

2.  When first making this association tell the students not to think of the actual meaning of the word noz at this time.  Say that they are only to think of what the sound of the word reminds them of.  Once a connection is made, then they are ready to connect it to a picture of what the word actually means.

3.  Now have your child think of the actual meaning of the word noz.  It means walnut.

Next, tell them to create a picture of their association (nose) with a walnut in a single image in their mind.  Add humor to this which strengthens their memory of the word noz.  In the example, I created a picture of a nose shaped like a walnut.  The placement of the meaning of the word (at the top left or top right side of the card) is based on where the child’s visual memory location is.  (See Chapter 6).

Tomorrow for the remaining steps in How To Learn Vocabulary Faster, look under the articles section.

Pat Wyman +Pat Wyman is the best selling author of Instant Learning for Amazing Grades and founder of  She is a university instructor who uses learning styles to help people learn how to learn vocabulary.