Young children remember words more easily if they learn them by drawing, colouring or by making things. One of the advantages of learning vocabulary through drawing is that creative activities help young learners: develop language skills in a stress-free, natural way; use meaningful language to them; test their skills in a fun, interesting way.
Learning activities include: Teachers ask students to use books with pictures and lists of words to play Pictionary, which consists of drawing something from the list of words, but no writing down words or speaking, while other players have to guess what words are being drawn. Children are encouraged to make flash card with the new words, writing a word on one card and drawing a picture of that word on another card. These illustrated cards can be kept in a box of favourite words.
Speed drawing for vocabulary retention is a fun strategy, created by an English teacher, named Sara Hendricks, to help learners remember new words and use them in speaking activities. At lower levels, this activity works best with a limited number of nouns, written on the board or on a flipchart. Students are given time for studying the words, but not memorize them, because they are allowed to use the list as part of the activity. The teacher can elicit the whole class to repeat the words, or do it individually, in pairs or in small groups. Familiar words can be also used at this stage.
Hendricks says that it is advisable to use words themes, such as jobs, animals or weather, to focus learners’ attention on words related thematically and which are easy and fun to draw. After a few minutes, explain that the students will play a drawing game so that they can practice using the words. Emphasize that the goal is to practice English, rather than to showcase artistic talent.
The next stage is to explain to students that they will have to work in pairs and choose a word to draw it, so that their partner could guess it, in only 10 seconds, with their eyes closed. The teacher should draw an example, on the board, in 10 seconds, with her/his eyes closed and ask the students to guess the word.
The purpose of this activity is to encourage students to repeat new words, over and over again. According to the author, speed drawing can be repeated 10 times, if the students like it, but teachers should make sure to avoid their students getting bored with it. Also, the game is appropriate for students of almost any age and is recommended for use with students whose English skills are at the beginning to intermediate level. You can play it from time to time with different vocabulary lists.
- americanenglish.state.gov/files/ae/resource_files/53_1_teaching_techniques_speed_drawing_vocabulary_retention.pdf, Sarah Hendriks, 2015