The Acquisition of Vocabulary Through Three Memory Strategies
The present study reports on an action research study that explores the implications of applying three vocabulary strategies: word cards, association with pictures, and association with a topic through fables in the acquisition of new vocabulary in a group of EFL low-level proficiency teenagers in a public school in Espinal, Tolima, Colombia. The participants had never used vocabulary strategies before and struggled to memorize and recall words. Two types of questionnaires, a researcher’s journal, and vocabulary tests were the instruments used to gather data. The results showed that these strategies were effective to expand the range of words progressively and improve the ability to recall them. The study also found that these strategies involve cognitive and affective factors that can affect students’ perception about the strategies and their use. The implementation of the strategies highlighted the need to train teachers and learners in strategies intended to teach and learn vocabulary and to include them in the English language program in any school.
Ae-Hwa K., Vaughn, S., Wanzek, J., & Wei, S. (2004). Graphic organizers and their effects on the reading comprehension of students with LD: A synthesis of research. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37(2), 105-18. doi:10.1177/00222194040370020201
Anderson, J. P., & Jordan, A. M. (1928). Learning and retention of Latin words and phrases. Journal of Educational Psychology, 19, 485-496. doi:10.1037/h0073011
Arias, L. D. (2003). Memory? no way! Folios, 18, 115-120.
Bos, C. S. & Anders, P. L. (1990). Effects of interactive vocabulary instruction on the vocabulary learning and reading comprehension of junior-high learning disabled students. Learning Disability Quarterly, 12(1), 31-42. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1510390
Cameron, L. (2001). Teaching Languages to Young Learners. London:
Cambridge University Press.
Cárdenas, M. (2001).The challenge of effective vocabulary teaching. Profile, 2(1),48-56. Retrieved from http://www.revistas.unal.edu.co/index.php/profile/index
Catalan, R. M. J. (2003). Sex differences in L2 vocabulary learning strategies. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 13(1), 54-77.
Chamot, A.U. (2009). The CALLA handbook: Implementing the cognitive academic language learning approach (2nd ed.). White Plains, NY:
Cohen, L., & Manion, L. (1994). Research methods in education (4th ed.). New York, N.K.: Routledge.
Colombia, M. (2001). Improving new vocabulary learning in context. Profile, 2(1), 22-24. Retrieved from http://www.revistas.unal.edu.co/index.php/profile/index
Cheng, Y., & Good, R. L. (2009). L1 glosses: Effects on EFL learners’ reading comprehension and vocabulary retention. Reading in a Foreign Language, 21(2), 119-142. Retrieved from http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/rfl/
DeWitt, K. C. (2010). Keyword mnemonic strategy: A study of SAT vocabulary in high school English (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 3421702).
Folse, K. (2004). Vocabulary myths: Applying second language research to classroom teaching. USA: Michigan.
Ghazal, L. (2009). Learning vocabulary in EFL contexts through vocabulary learning strategies. Novitas-ROYAL, 1(2), 84-91. Retrieved from http://pdfcast.org/pdf/learning-vocabularyin-efl-contexts-through-vocabulary-learning-strategies.
Gu, Y. (2003). Vocabulary Learning in a Second Language: Person, Task, Context and Strategies. TESL-EJ, 7(2), 1-18
Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Cambridge, U.K.: Pearson Education Limited.
Hong, P. (2009). Investigating the most frequently used and most useful vocabulary language learning strategies among Chinese EFL postsecondary students in Hong Kong. Electronic Journal of Foreign
Language Teaching, 6(1), 77-87. Retrieved from http://eflt.nus.edu.sg/
Kojic-Sabo, I. & Lightbown, P. M. (1999). Students’ approaches to vocabulary learning and their relationship to success, Modern Language Journal, 83, 176-192. doi:10.1111/0026-7902.00014
Mastropieri, M. A., & Scruggs, T. E. (1998). Enhancing school success with mnemonic strategies. Intervention in School and Clinic, 33(4), 201-201. doi:10.1177/105345129803300402
Mediha, N, & Enisa, M. (2014). A Comparative Study on the Effectiveness of Using Traditional and Contextualized Methods for Enhancing Learners’ Vocabulary Knowledge in an EFL Classroom. 5th World Conference on Educational Sciences, (116), 3443-3448. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.780
Nakata, Tatsuya (2008). English vocabulary learning with word lists, word cards and computers: implications from cognitive psychology research for optimal spaced learning. ReCALL, 20(1), 3-20. doi:10.1017/S0958344008000219
Nation, I.S.P. (1990). Teaching and learning vocabulary. New York: Heinle and Heinle.
Nation, I.S.P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Nation, I.S.P. (2008). Teaching vocabulary: Strategies and techniques. Boston, USA: Heinle Cengage Learning.
Nunan, D. (1992). Collaborative language learning and teaching. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Obringer, L. A. (2001). The psychology of learning. Retrieved August 12, 2012 from
Oxford, R. L. (1990). Language learning strategies.What every teacher should know. Boston: Heinle and Heinle.
Pérez, L. M. (2013). The acquisition of vocabulary through three memory strategies.(Masters thesis, Universidad de la Sabana, Chia, Colombia). Retrieved from: http://intellectum.unisabana.edu.co/handle/10818/6657
Pigada, M., & Schmitt, N. (2006). Vocabulary acquisition from extensive reading: A case study. Reading in a foreign language, 18(1),1-28. Retrieved from http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/rfl/
Pineda, J. (2010). Identifying language learning Strategies: an exploratory study. Gist Education and Learning Research Journal, 4(1), 94-106. Retrieved from http://www.unica.edu.co/archivo/GIST/2010/07_2010.pdf
Rivers, W. (1983). Communicating naturally in a second language. NY: CUP.
Rott, S. (1999). The effect of exposure frequency on intermediate language learners’ incidental vocabulary acquisition through reading. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 21(1), 589-619.
Sanaoui, R. (1995). Adult learners' approaches to learning vocabulary in second languages. The Modern Language Journal, 79(1), 15-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4781.1995.tb05410.x
Schmitt, N. (2008). Review article: Instructed second language vocabulary learning. Language Teaching Research,12,329-363.doi: 10.1177/1362168808089921
Schmitt, N. & Schmitt, D. (2014). A reassessment of frequency and vocabulary size in L2 vocabulary teaching. Language Teaching, (47), 484-503 doi: 10.1017/S0261444812000018
Sprenger, M. (1999). Learning and Memory: The brain in action. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development [e-book]. Retrieved from
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). The basic of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedure and techniques. (3rd ed.). London, UK: Sage Publications.
Thornbury, S. (2004). How to teach vocabulary. (3rd Ed). England, UK: Pearson Education Limited.
Troutt-Ervin, E. (1990). Application of keyword mnemonics to learning terminology the college classroom. Journal of Experimental Education, 59(1), 31.
Trujillo, C. L., Álvarez, C. P., Zamudio, M. N. & Morales, G. (2015). Facilitating vocabulary learning through metacognitive strategy training and learning journals. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 17(2), 246-259. doi: 10.14483/udistrital.jour.calj.2015.2.a05
Wallace, M. (2008). Action research for language teachers. London, UK: Cambridge university press.
Waring, R. & Takaki, M. (2003). At what rate do learners learn and retain new vocabulary from reading a graded reader? Reading in a Foreign Language, 15(2), 130-163. Retrieved from http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/rfl/
Wilkins, D. A. (1972). Linguistics in language teaching. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Copyright (c) 2017 Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.