Read. Read a lot. Read, read, and read some more. I can’t emphasize this enough. By reading, we constantly encounter new words, new phrases, and new sentence structures. It is important to read material that we are interested in. For instance, if we are interested in automobiles and motorcycles, but chose to read about flower gardening instead, we risk losing interest in the text very quickly and soon we get bored, causing us to abandon it. We just wasted time, and since we were not interested, we probably won’t remember much of it.
At the beginning of our language-learning journey, it will not be possible to read complete books. By following a good language learning course, you will have plenty to read. When you get to a decent level in your target language, you may graduate to reading beginner level short stories. There are many free ebooks available in many languages, many of which are classical stories we are already familiar with. In addition, there is a wide variety of short story books that can be purchased, such as those written by Olly Richards, a well know polyglot. (iwillteachyoualanguage.com). (I currently own the Spanish Short Stories for Beginners.)
While reading stories, I suggest reading one chapter, jotting down (or underlining/highlighting) words you don’t know. Look them up in your dictionary and note the definitions. Read the chapter again, and then again if necessary, until you can understand completely.
A fun and enjoyable way to read is by watching a movie in your target language and reading the captions (also in your target language). By doing this you will be able to make an association between the way the sentences and words sound and the text, which will help you remember it more efficiently. A few days later, try watching it again without the captions.
There are many ways to learn vocabulary. This is just one of them. What do you do to learn vocabulary? Please comment and let me know! I’d be glad to hear and add the input into an upcoming post! 🙂