There are several good vocabulary apps on the market that are great for students who trying to boost their vocabularies. I wish some of them would have been around when my kids were studying for the SAT. 🙂
FREE & fabulous – World’s Worst Pet-Vocabulary, an educational app for kids in grades 4 – 8. Snargg, a cute blue pet needs kids to use their vocabulary skills to get him out of trouble. The app’s four games teach context, word sorts, synonyms, & antonyms as they expose kids to over 1000 words across 5 levels: grades 4 – 8. Words are taught in sets – 10 conceptually related words per set. Kids are encouraged to replay each word set to improve their scores. Other features of the app include: clearly explained definitions with examples of how the word is used, multiple exposures to words, writing prompts, and… a really fun narrative with rewards. The app allows multiple players which makes it perfect for the classroom. Teachers can use it to differentiate instruction, as part of a center, for individual or group assignments, as homework, etc. There are so many great things about this app – meaningful content, a fun interface, and it meets CCSS. It’s fantastic, wonderful, remarkable, tremendous, amazing … 🙂
Common Core Standards met:
- 4.L.5 – Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. c.Demonstrate understanding of words by relating them to their opposites (antonyms) and to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms).
- 5.L.5 – Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. c. Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonyms, antonyms, homographs) to better understand each of the words.
Recently updated for iOS 7, Bluster is a FREE app for the iPad developed by McGraw-Hill. This educational app was designed to teach vocabulary and word development to students in grades 2 – 4. Topics covered are rhyming, prefixes & suffixes, word roots, synonyms, homophones, and adjectives. There are 3 modes of play – single, team, and versus. Team mode permits collaboration with a friend. Versus mode allows head-to-head play with the ability to disrupt your opponent by causing weather related attacks. Kids start by choosing their mode of play, grade level, and word match type. They then swipe through the list to match 3 words with the same meaning, rhyme, prefix, suffix, or word root. There are 10 groups of 3 to match in each round of play. Bluster presents 800+ vocabulary words in a fun way!
Common Core Standards met:
- 2.L.4 – Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known prefix is added to a known word (e.g., happy/unhappy, tell/retell). Use a known root word as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word with the same root (e.g., addition, additional).
- 3.L.4 – Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known affix is added to a known word (e.g., agreeable/disagreeable, comfortable/uncomfortable, care/careless, heat/preheat). Use a known root word as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word with the same root (e.g., company, companion).
- 4.L.4 – Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., telegraph, photograph, autograph).
- 4.L.5. Demonstrate understanding of words by relating them to their opposites (antonyms) and to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms).
Words to Learn By by McGraw Hill has 300 words to study. It was offered for FREE when I downloaded it but it is currently $.99. The words are grouped into 3 levels – building, expanding and advancing. Each word includes a definition, an audio pronunciation, and a synonym. There are 4 options in the quiz mode – flashcards, definitions, fill-in-the-blanks (GREAT for teaching context clues), and a synonym shuffle game. This app is not too difficult and could be used with upper elementary and junior high students.
Word a Day was offered for FREE when I downloaded it but it is currently $1.99. This app takes a fun approach to expanding your vocabulary – one day/one word at a time! This app features a new word every day – each word has a humorous illustration and a narrated audio which pronounces the word, defines it, and uses it in context. If you feature a vocabulary word of the day in your classroom, you may want to look at this app – it’s a cute one!
Vocabology – Word of the Day was offered FREE the day I downloaded it but is currently $.99. It offers words of the day from several sources on the internet: foreign language words (Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, French, Latin), Dictionary.com, Wiktionary, Merriam-Webster, TheFreeDictionary.com, Yahoo Education, Common SAT words, Urban Dictionary, and WordSmith.org. The app also includes a quizzes. In-app purchases are available for SAT words, Latin words, and more. BEWARE – some of the words from the urban dictionary are explicit and NOT suitable for the classroom. You have the option of disabling this word source within the app. You need to do so before you put this app in the hands of kids! I appreciate that the developer has included this option.
Currently $.99 – Cultiwords, an educational app for systematically building your vocabulary. The app comes with a 40-words set which includes definitions, anecdotes, and review questions. There are 3 additional sets of words available as in-app purchases. The app introduces each new word by posing a multiple-choice question with 3 possible answers. After you answer, it tells you if you were correct, gives the word’s definition, and provides additional clarifying information about that word. Words are then added to your personal dictionary. The review mode quizzes you on words in your dictionary. Review questions test a deeper understanding of the word – synonyms/antonyms, contextual settings, etc. Once you answer 3/3 questions about a word correctly, that word moves to the Acquired List. Well-organized and simple to use – this app would be great for kids in upper elementary and beyond. My only wish is that it had more words!!
Was FREE but now $3.99 – 3rd Grade Vocabulary Prep, an educational app designed to improve children’s vocabulary. Teachers enter an administrative password before entering their students’ names. This administrative feature permits teachers to review their students’ scores and track individual student improvement. The app also generates a “most difficult words for this student” list so teachers can see where individuals are having difficulty. Once the students’ names have been entered, kids can begin to study. There are 10 words to study at each level. Kids click on each word to hear its pronunciation, meaning, and a sample sentence. I love that the words are used in context! They can go through the lesson as often as needed to learn the words. There are 2 quizzes to take to make sure that students are making progress. If a student misses a word on one of the practice quizzes, the word goes back in the deck for further review. A test must be passed (90%) in order to move to the next level. Teachers can send emails to parents that provide specific test results or that recap the child’s progress to date. Nicely done!