Tips for using Latin vocabulary cards effectively:

  • Use your Latin vocabulary cards often! Building five minutes of looking at Latin vocabulary cards into your homework routine every day will make a dramatic difference in your comfort with Latin vocabulary. Students typically find that studying with Latin vocabulary cards for five minutes a day for a week is more effective than doing it for a half an hour all on one day.
  • Be conscientious as you are writing out your Latin vocabulary cards. It’s important to make your Latin vocabulary cards yourself, as writing is an important component that will help you remember the vocabulary. Writing clearly is important so you can read your Latin vocabulary cards later. Focusing on what you are writing will help you avoid errors and aid in memorization.
  • Make sure all the necessary information is on each of your Latin vocab cards (see the Latin dictionary forms page for tips on what information is needed for which types of words). It’s no fun to spend lots of time and energy learning vocabulary if what you’re learning is incomplete!
  • Develop a good storage system for your cards. Organize Latin vocabulary cards in to different groups: vocabulary you know inside out, Latin to English, all the meanings and forms, vocabulary you can recognize, but don’t have fully memorized, vocabulary you consistently get mixed up or otherwise don’t have down yet. One option is to use an old shoebox and index card-sized dividers, and move cards back and forth between the three piles. Another option is to use separate boxes for each categories, and a third idea is to use different colored rubber bands. Choose whichever method is best for you, as long as you fit your Latin vocabulary cards into your daily routine.

Why use cards to learn Latin grammar and vocabulary?

Latin vocabulary cards are a very popular way for students to memorize the important aspects of Latin grammar and vocabulary. Some students and parents may wonder if Latin vocabulary cards are the best solution for them, too. Used correctly, and with the individual learning style of each student kept in mind, cards can almost always be effectively used for mastery of Latin grammar and vocabulary.

One main advantage of Latin vocabulary cards is that they can be used by students with different learning styles. Those students who learn best by writing will benefit most from the production of the cards. In this case, the act of writing Latin vocabulary and grammar on each card goes a long way to memorizing it. Whatever their learning style, students should always make their own cards, because buying pre-made cards bypasses this very important step.

Latin vocabulary cards are also great for students who learn visually. Using cards to learn Latin grammar and vocabulary is great for these students, because a vocabulary card can be looked at again and again until the word on it has been thoroughly memorized. Additionally, Latin vocabulary cards can be shuffled, which is a huge advantage over learning Latin vocabulary in lists. (Students who learn Latin vocabulary this way can inadvertently memorize the order of the words in the list, and not the meaning of the words themselves.)

Auditory learners can also benefit from Latin vocabulary cards by using them as a prompt to speak the word and its meaning aloud (when studying by themselves) or under their breath (when using cards in public, see below). Auditory learners should pay particular attention to the correct pronunciation of Latin, and be sure to learn to correctly spell what the are saying out loud.

Realistically, no Latin student learns exclusively through one of these three learning styles, so a main strength of Latin vocabulary cards is that they cover all the bases, and help students to remember vocabulary in a variety of different ways.

Latin vocabulary cards are also excellent because they are portable and can be used little by little. Take the bus or other public transportation to school? Perfect time to look at a few Latin vocabulary cards! Have a few minutes waiting for class to begin? Use the time well by looking at your cards. I’ve even see people memorize vocabulary on cards while running on a treadmill, but it’s only advisable if you’ve got good balance.

Latin vocabulary cards are great because if you only have two minutes, and you only are able to look at three of your cards, it will still be worth the time to do it. In fact, Latin vocabulary cards are actually best when used little by little on a daily basis.