I’m Erica Abbett, the founder of Vocabbett, and I’m delighted you’re here.
My mission? To help you painlessly improve your vocabulary for the SAT, ACT, and life itself.
What makes me qualified to help you?
I’m a former teacher and hold a Master’s degree from Southern Methodist University. But, honestly, who cares about that stuff? I always look for the story behind the person (you’ll see why in a minute).
As for mine? I’ve loved big words my whole life. Perusing an old yearbook recently, I literally found this (much abbreviated) comment: “You are one of the smartest, sweetest, most respectable girls I know. I don’t understand half the words you say…” (Still makes me smile years later).
I’ve also spent most of my life studying languages, both in school and across Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East during the years I studied abroad.
During those years, I was exposed to nearly every type of vocabulary-expansion technique available, from total immersion (Italy) to your average “meet a few times a week + lots of busy work” course (Egypt).
As a result, I developed rather strong opinions about what works (and what doesn’t!) when it comes to learning new words — in your native tongue, or another.
In Italy, though I arrived knowing just two words — “pizza” and “pasta” — but I was able to score a 5 (the highest possible score) on the Italian Language and Culture Advanced Placement exam that spring.
In Egypt? I left knowing embarrassingly little Arabic. The language is harder, certainly, but I also wasn’t learning it in a way that resonated with me.
In Italy, every word had a built-in story, a context for my brain to easily catalog it.
In Egypt, where I lived with other Americans and most of my learning happened in a textbook, each word was just an arbitrary combination of sounds.
And unfortunately, that’s still how most of us are taught to improve our English vocabulary.
How many conventional vocabulary programs are story-based? Most favor brute force memorization methods and blind repetition in the hope that something sticks.
I tested my theory — that learning is made more efficient and less painful through the use of stories — during my years as a teacher in Dallas.
My students left no doubt in my mind that the most painless learning always has a context or a “why” behind it — a connection, a rhyme, an anecdote — in short, a STORY.
I founded Vocabbett in 2019 in the hope that I could help make the vocabulary components of the SAT/ACT and life itself a little more fun.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!