Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wordle: A Tool to Help you Learn English

Do you ever feel frustrated about trying to remember vocabulary - especially vocabulary you don't use every day?  Keep reading and you may start feeling better soon.

I want to tell you about a terrific and free online  program called Wordle that can help you remember vocabulary, spelling, or even grammar  Wordle is a simple Web page application that helps you create eye catching "word clouds" from text that YOU provide. 

A picture is worth a thousand words, but with Wordle, a thousand words is worth a word cloud. The great thing is that  you can use Wordle to create word clouds for anything YOU specifically want to remember

How Wordle Works 
In Wordle, you create word clouds. These can be entire text that you cut and paste into the program, or they can be individual and specific words that you want to use for something. Some words look bigger and others smaller, depending on what you want to stand out the most. You can make the clouds look as different as you want with with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle  are yours to use in whatever way you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle  gallery to share with your friends. If you want to do more advanced things, there are instructions for this on the website itself.

How Wordle Can Help You to Improve your English  

Let me discuss a few ways ESL students can use it . There are many, many more. In fact, all you need is an imagination to come up with new and different ways to use this to help yourself learn and remember English.

Wordle: Commonly mispelled words for ESL students
Words I Usually Spell Wrong

Sometimes it could be something as simple as words that YOU personally have trouble spelling. For example, many of my students frequently misspell the words daughter, because and favourite.  Many of them keep making the same spelling mistakes because they don't use a strategy to help themselves remember the correct spelling. Using a Wordle poster that you make yourself, and print out and paste around the house, or very visibly in notebooks can help you remember those words. The idea is to start with 15 or 20. Make sure you finally get them right all the time. Then, start another poster. 
Wordle: Personality Words
Vocabulary to describe personality


You can also use Wordle as an additional tool, or method to help you remember specific vocabulary. One of the biggest complaints my students make is that they can never remember new vocabulary. Of course, you need to use it as much as you can if you want to really learn and remember it. Using a Wordle cloud such as the one on the right helps you keep the words right in front of you - especially if you choose bright colours, and a creative layout, print it out and place it in locations where you willWordle: food
look at them, and hopefully use them as often as possible. If you look on the left, you will see Wordle poster for words you can use to describe food. You can do this synonyms, antonyms, prefixes, suffixes, new words you are trying to remember, or old words you want to review.

Wordle: Nouns

You can also use Wordle  to help yourself remember grammar rules you are having problems with. For example, here is a Wordle poster with non-count nouns that do not take "s."  I don't know about you, but many of my students still struggle with this. A Wordle poster that constantly reminds them of particular problem words like vocabulary and homework can be very useful

Although Wordle is very easy to use for basic things such as the posters I have on the page, here is set of  instructions  on how to do various advanced activities, as well as an instruction video.

Enjoy yourselves! Have fun with words! Be creative, and you might have an easier time remembering them. 


  1. Nice tips to improve English....thanku...

    Learn English

  2. I think people shouldn't frustrate while going to learn English. They should concentrate English while learning.

    1. I'm not sure what you mean. This post was about a tool to help you remember what you are learning - especially vocabulary and spelling. Many students complain that they have trouble remembering new words.

  3. On www.txt2pic.com you can make more images with your text.


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