Spelling, reading and vocabulary are a big part of your education growing up.
In fact, a sizeable portion of college entrance exams like the SATs is dedicated specifically to testing your proficiency in these areas.
Your chances of getting into your dream school, where your performance may determine your prospects in the workplace, are directly determined by how well you perform in several subjects, including your reading, writing and vocabulary.
But these are not the only reasons vocabulary acquisition is beneficial, if not life-changing, for you.
Take a look at these 3 reasons to pursue vocabulary acquisition, which have long-term benefits that go beyond scoring spectacularly for your SATs and GREs.
3 Reasons to Pursue Vocabulary Acquisition
1. Pursue Vocabulary Acquisition to Improve Long-Term Memory
It’s important to distinguish vocabulary acquisition from merely memorizing vocabulary.
You might have had to commit a list of keywords or notes, perhaps for a quiz or a technical presentation, at some point in life, by repeating them over and over again.
Perhaps you used flashcards, or spent a day reciting the words back and forth.
After the quiz or the presentation was done, how many of those words do you remember?
The reason why you might forget things you’ve learned through memorization is because this isn’t a brain-based strategy for learning.
When you learn new information, your brain creates connections or pathways between your braincells or neurons to store this information.
This is possible because your brain’s neuroplasticity – it’s amazing and infinite ability to learn and adapt to new information and experiences.
Because your brain is constantly learning, experiencing, and processing information, like the efficient control tower that it is, when it stops encountering a specific type of input, it prunes away the neural connections of information you no longer are using.
On the other hand, if you keep reviewing and recalling specific information, the neural connections grow stronger and more permanent – they become committed to your long-term memory.
This is vocabulary acquisition – because you are not merely storing information you need the next day or the next week in your short-term memory, but acquiring it by retaining and retrieving it from your long-term memory.
And the great news is, vocabulary acquisition doesn’t have to feel like extra study time in order to build this long-term memory.
Vocabulary builders, which include vocabulary software like Vocabulary Quest, are specifically designed to play up to how your brain learns best.
The software prompts you with advanced vocabulary words as part of quests to clear in-game levels and fulfil objectives.
As a result, you are more motivated to learn than you might be when simply learning words off your notes or a textbook.
Your brain’s dopamine neurons spark up when you unlock an in-game achievement, and because this creates a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, you want to experience it again.
This is what creates motivation, and drives your desire to keep learning, in anticipation of a reward.
Vocabulary Quest also helps you chunk your learning, which is the best approach to create and maintain long-term memory.
The brain retains what it learns at the beginning and the end of a learning session – the longer the gap in between the beginning and the end, the more you are likely to forget.
A mathematical formula, the Ebbinghaus curve of forgetting, illustrates this, and neuroscientists continue to corroborate this information by highlighting how the brain recalls better when it learns in chunks and reviews frequently.
Since Vocabulary Quest frequently incorporates recalling, reviewing and retrieving advanced vocabulary throughout the game as part of the challenge to progress, you are engaging in a fun activity which happens to also be building your vocabulary acquisition in the long-run!
2. Pursue Vocabulary Acquisition to Enhance Your Brain’s Neuroplasticity
You already read a little about your brain’s amazing ability to continue learning and changing with new information, but the potential and possibilities of neuroplasticity merit their own point.
When you are learning new information and reinforcing this information, you are creating and strengthening new neural pathways in your brain, as you just learned.
But the benefit of this goes beyond simply having a long-term and reliable bank of advanced vocabulary.
Capitalizing on your neuroplasticity and regularly engaging in new learning – as you get to do with vocabulary builders like Vocabulary Quest – helps improve your prospects for overall memory and brain health.
Essentially, learning and making efforts to retain and apply new information gives your brain a workout, in the same way you have to maintain a degree of exercise to build and then maintain muscle mass and health.
By doing so, your brain grows and develops, and just as exercising finetunes your body, learning and then applying what you learn finetunes your brain.
In fact, neuroscience continues to demonstrate how new learning can not only speed up and boost the efficiency of your cognitive processes and long-term memory, but also reduces the likelihood of degenerative conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Furthermore, studies indicate that the brain’s plasticity allows your neural connections to expand when reading fiction, because you vicariously experience a multitude of things without even leaving your home.
Since vocabulary software like Vocabulary Quest create entire immersive storylines and missions where you are the main character, the unique experience of playing these games with their exciting narratives, visuals, audio and mechanics further helps optimize your brain’s neuroplasticity!
3. Pursue Vocabulary Acquisition to Improve Your Reading Comprehension and Fluency
Reading comprehension is more than just understanding the words that you are reading.
Of course, understanding what you are reading is extremely important, especially as texts grow more complex, technical, and challenging as you progress through school and your career.
Vocabulary acquisition over time helps you decode more complicated texts as you read naturally, without having to pause every couple of words to reach for the glossary or dictionary.
As you read and inherently understand the words in context, your brain is able to connect what you are learning to what you know and critically engage with the text at a deeper level, than possible if you merely memorize words.
Memorization, ultimately, stores information in your head temporarily and does not have personal relevance to you.
Thus, without proper reading comprehension, your engagement with any text would be superficial and not critical or meaningful.
Long-term vocabulary acquisition on the other hand creates not only sound reading comprehension, but also fluency, which refers to the ability to read accurately, swiftly, and with the appropriate expression.
You are better able to grasp the contexts and subtexts of what you are reading, and are in turn better able to critically analyse the text and express your ideas about them in a more concise and precise manner.
So, have I convinced you to pursue vocabulary acquisition?
Which of these 3 reasons to pursue vocabulary acquisition did you find the most compelling?
And will you be trying out Vocabulary Quest to test them out for yourself?
I’d love to hear back from you!
Jason Manilla is the Founder and owner of VocabularyQuest.com.
This site is used by both children and adults around the world.
Vocabulary Quest trains learners to master advanced vocabulary through game-based learning.