Adel Alharbi

Vocab-Backup Strategy

5 sequential self-learning steps to boost your vocabulary knowledge

To my mom (Fatimah) and Dad (Marzouq) who taught me my life’s first vocabulary.

BookRix GmbH & Co. KG
80331 Munich

Cover Page

Vocab-Backup Strategy

5 Sequential Self-Learning Steps to Boost Your Vocabulary Knowledge

Adel M. Alharbi

Copyright © 2017 Adel M. Alharbi

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.

To my mom (Fatimah) and Dad (Marzouq)

who taught me my life’s first vocabulary.






About This Book


How and Why Did This Strategy Come About?

Why Learning Vocabulary is Important

My Vocabulary Story

Introducing the Vocab-Backup Strategy – VBS


Step #1: Synonyms First!

Synonym Strategies Process

Semantic Map Example


Step #2: Meaning with Context


Step #3: Pronunciation Practice Process


Step #4: Bookmark Your Vocabulary Search


Step #5: Remembering Strategy for Writing








First and foremost, my absolute thanks are to God [Allah, The Creator] who made our knowledge in words to be seen, developed our language to be spoken in infinite tongues and meanings, and guided our actions to the right path.

I would like to give my thanks too to all my professors and students who supported me in writing this book and who showed their motivation toward my book topic. Also, I should give a special thanks to my book editor, Dr. Steven Miller, who made this book look better.

This book’s initial spark came from the immense support and guidance of Dr. Mahmoud Amer, who pushed me to continue investigating this topic. I am especially thankful to the Self-Publishing School for supporting me to walk me through how to publish. I have built more confidence after I joined their program. The pro. class level allowed me to master all the requirements to make my book publishing dream happen. Additional appreciation goes to Dr. Teresa Dalle (my PhD supervisor) for her great assistance and support in guiding my research.

Finally, I must thank Dr. Rebecca Oxford for her endless endeavors to encourage the flourishing of the field of vocabulary learning strategies and language learning strategies. She inspires and motivates us to think strategically in our language learning and to activate the power of self-regulation in the field of Applied Linguistics.

Lastly, my endless gratitude and thanks to my family Samar and Rayan who supported me the whole journey to publish this book. Thank you so much for giving me time and courage to make my book publishing happened on time.



Vocab-Backup Strategy: 5 sequential self-learning steps to boost your vocabulary knowledge aims to help language learners integrate the best strategies in acquiring new words. The core stimulus of this project came after years of teaching ESL students and noticing that students’ language proficiency in most classes (English, history, grammar, reading, and other writing-intensive subjects) were insufficient, despite their academic achievements. In other words, it is neither their lack of learning motivation nor different styles of communication that lowers their language proficiency, but rather a lack of building a sufficiently sized new vocabulary to use the language. Years of research in language learning has shown that most language learners prefer to use a strategy that they can depend on, and most start with vocabulary learning strategy during the process of learning. For this basic reason, I am offering this book for students to succeed in their academic journey and fulfil their course requirements to achieve higher vocabulary knowledge. Frequently, teachers’ frustration about students’ progress was mostly recognized as due to a failure of vocabulary building. This motivated me to contemplate this topic and offer a workable method to learners and teachers as well. Another purpose of this book is to evoke the use of vocabulary learning strategies in the mind of language learners.

I should tell you here that this book is supplementary data for my published paper, “Building Vocabulary for Language Learning: Approach for ESL Learners to Study New Vocabulary” (Alharbi, 2015). This book reveals the full details of the five steps of vocabulary learning strategies called Vocab-Backup Strategy (VBS) to assist English Language Learners (however, it applies to first language users as well). It encourages language learners to be exposed to and to acquire sufficient vocabulary information in a sequence of words’ search that will allow them to maintain their vocabulary knowledge easily. In the previous study, there were five strategies: continuum-building synonyms networking, learning definition(s) with contexts, listening and pronunciation process, remembering strategy for writing, and bookmarked word search, as the measurement of the vocabulary learning habits by L2 learners and native speakers as well. In this presentation, there will be a detailed analysis of the VBS and extra discussions about each strategy explicitly. It is to be assumed that this research will help and enrich ESL teachers’ and students’ perception of vocabulary learning strategy for better language development. Also, it will add extra knowledge of vocabulary learning by examining each sub-category of this approach from the Second Language Acquisition perspective.


I am putting in your hand my passionate project that I have built from nothing. Since I first thought of writing this book, my goal has been to assist teachers and language learners of any language, because what I have gone through during my language learning has proven that the vocabulary learning strategy works better to develop your language, which is necessary for becoming successful in your academic life.

However, and for sure, this work also should empower teachers, educators, English as a second language learners, and curriculum designers. Teaching and learning strategies are the core factors in this book, but more significantly, they are your tool for better learning and for enriching your mind at every moment.

In this project, I prioritize successful practice of language learning. For over eight years I taught language learners, and I decided to create this work to integrate both my learning and teaching practices that converged together from various education experiences. So, I pledge to offer this book as a tool and guide for my students and colleagues to achieve remarkable learning and teaching outcomes.

This book introduces a first-hand work of vocabulary strategy named Vocab-Backup Strategy, or VBS. A word on how this book works: you may realize that each set of vocabulary strategies I will introduce is mingled into one group but consistently intact. In other words, they are ordered from 1 to 5 with some extra explanation for each strategy. This means you need to consider all sub-strategies in relation to the main steps. Do not worry, however! I will get into these details later, and by then you will discover the big picture of how the Strategy works as you finish reading this book.

About This Book

A good strategymust lead your way and light your path. Vocab-backup strategy globallocal

Vocab-backupStrategy: 5 Sequential Self-learning Steps to Boost your VocabularyKnowledge