liz west   (image modified).  Creative Commons.liz west (image modified). Creative Commons.
Technology

8 Apps for Vocabulary Practice

Engaging students in the study of words can impact their lives well beyond their time in the classroom.

Having an expansive vocabulary can do wonders for students’ abilities to comprehend text and communicate well. The days of copying definitions from a dictionary are hopefully far behind us, but a purposeful study of terms is still an important component of learning. Broadening the scope of vocabulary study to the digital realm gives students more interaction with terms, and these 8 apps offer opportunities for students at a variety of levels to have some engaging encounters with words.

Bluster!– This app presented by McGraw-Hill allows users to play vocabulary games individually or with a partner/team. There is also a third mode that allows students to enter into head-to-head gameplay with some exciting challenges that can derail their opponents as they perform at lightning speed. The content can be used at a variety of grade levels and includes work with rhyming words, prefixes and suffixes, synonyms, homophones, adjectives, and more. Over 800 words are included, and the app can be used for free but includes a variety of in-app purchases to unlock more words.

Word Dynamo- Flashcards & Word Games by Dictionary.com– This app is unique in that it allows users to customize their own word lists. For just $.99, Word Dynamo offers a flashcard creator, definition matcher, and audio component. The entire Dictionary.com library of words is at students’ disposal. With over 50 Word Challenges, entertainment and learning are never in short supply. A wide array of lists are available and include word studies for standardized test prep. The app is also available at a 50% discount through the Apple’s Volume Licensing Program to allow teachers to impact more students at even more affordable price.

World’s Worst Pet- Vocabulary– Over 1000 Tier Two words are presented in this Common Core aligned app. Students are given multiple exposure to words in a variety of contexts. There are six levels included and four engaging games that can be played. Student-friendly definitions are presented and a playful narrative and reward system are also included. With the addition of writing prompt suggestions, this app packs in a lot of learning and comes with a free price tag.

Vocabulary.com– This is the vocabulary app that grows with you. Users move through a series of quick questions to determine their level, and Vocabulary.com can cater a list to fit their abilities. Students can also choose from over 50,000 pre-made lists. With the incentive to earn points and badges, students can be motivated to amp up their vocabulary study as they compete with world-wide users. The app reinforces word skills until mastery is achieved. With the integration of topic lists, personalized lists, and user selected words, this $2.99 app really is an all-inclusive vocabulary study companion.

Kids’ Vocab- MindSnacks– The words and games in this app are geared toward students between the ages of 7-12. With nine unique games and over 350 words, students have a lot of learning opportunities at an affordable price. One free lesson is available, and the rest can be unlocked for $1.99. The app has students working with context, spelling, categorization, and more. The lessons are designed to build understanding rather than simply reinforcing memorization and have students walking away with the ability to demonstrate proper word usage.

Word Joust for 6-8– Developed for students in grades 6-8, Word Joust offers 3000 words that were compiled from middle school reading materials. The mini-word games included are presented on a medieval battlefield, and users interact with words as they work to move from apprentice to master. This free app includes games that have students unscrambling words, matching definitions, completing word searches, and more. Game play adjusts to performance levels and progress is easily tracked.

Roots to Words– The importance of root study cannot be overlooked when discussing vocabulary. An understanding of the etymology of words through their roots will allow students to more easily decipher any new terms they encounter. By examining prefixes, suffixes, and roots, users are able to unlock the meaning of innumerable words. For $4.99, the Roots to Words app offers students a tangible way strengthen their wordsmith skills.

Vocabador– Wrestling with words takes on new meaning with Vocabador. This engaging app puts users in the ring and allows them to train and face challenges. In Training mode, flashcards with over 400 words are broken into 3 categories, lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. After training is completed, students can switch to Challenge mode. In this mode, students choose one of 12 wrestling opponents to quiz them on defining 36 words from their weight class. At only $1.99, this unique format may be just what some reluctant students need to engage in a vocabulary study.

Having an expansive vocabulary is beneficial in the classroom and beyond. Finding creative ways to help students develop said vocabulary can be difficult. With these 8 apps that focus on vocabulary development, students will be well on their way to rising to any word challenge.

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