Published 27th July 2018

young learners

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We all know teaching vocabulary to our learners is essential for their development of their English language skills. Teaching vocabulary to our learners is not usually a big deal because we can incorporate various techniques to review and revise vocabulary. However, this is not so easy with very Young Learners who cannot read or write in their own language yet, let alone English. So let us look at a few vocabulary learning techniques for Young Learners.

Recommended vocabulary learning techniques for young learners


Young Learners love songs and the use of songs helps learners learn vocabulary without a need to read or write the words. Songs provide a vehicle for teachers to teach vocabulary through modelling and repetition. As with any vocabulary activity, repetition is key so make sure when using songs to teach vocabulary that you sing the songs regularly to promote learning and retention.

Equally as good as songs are nursery rhymes. There are many different English nursery rhymes that can be used in the EFL classroom to teach vocabulary items.


Children love a good story. Storytelling provides a way to introduce new vocabulary items to Young Learners. Teachers can read the stories and explain the meanings of the words to the learners during the reading. Just like songs, stories need to be read more than once. Once the learners are familiar with the story, the teacher can prompt the learners to provide the vocabulary items during reading.


Even though Young Learners may not yet be able to read proficiently, this does not mean they should not be exposed to the written word. Flashcards enable the teacher to provide a visual representation of the words to be learnt with the written word. Plus they give an opportunity to play various flashcard games which will both entertain and educate your learners.


Images are king in the classroom and it’s no different with Young Learners. We’re not talking about watching an entire movie in every lesson, though! But using short video clips with subtitles can be a very engaging way to illustrate vocabulary to your learners. Songs and stories can also come alive with video.

Physical actions

Young Learners learn well by using their bodies. Methods like Total Physical Response have been shown to be especially effective with Young Learners. You don’t need to restrict your vocabulary to action words, though. Incorporate actions into songs or stories to represent any form of vocabulary items.

There are many different teaching techniques to teaching vocabulary to Young Learners. Make sure you incorporate a range of different methods to keep your Young Learners entertained.