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How the Internet Can Help Kids Build Their Vocabulary

| Jim Moulton

Editor's Note: Updated May 26, 2011

I like words. I do a lot of writing and public speaking, so this makes sense. Do you like words? Do you wish your students liked words more? I thought it might be helpful to share some of my favorite word-centric, Web-based resources, and see what other folks can share back. All of these sites help increase one's control over words, and hey, words are power, right?

Now if this was October, we could be celebrating Noah Webster's birthday, but let's just have some fun with words just because. Take a look at these, and be sure to share your favorites with all of us:

  • Visuwords.com is a free online graphical dictionary that can help kids see the complexity of language.
  • SpellingCity.com offers a simple and free tool for helping elementary kids practice and self-test themselves on spelling words.
  • Vocabulary.co.il specializes in games around words and idioms.
  • Freerice.com rolls philanthropy and SAT preparation into one!
  • Merriam-Webster.com includes pronunciation and a thesaurus too.
  • Thatquiz.org is primarily a mathematics quiz site, but also features vocabulary-building quizzes, with some SAT preparation.
  • Vocabulary.com offers free word puzzles and activities.

So, there are some places to begin, but this is not the final word by a long shot. What are your favorites?

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Comments (26)

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Andi Friedland (not verified)

Great ideas

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You offered some great websites for us to introduce to the students. It is an interesting why for us to see the kids use the internet in another way. We always want them to get rid of the worn out words and this is a perfect way of having them do so! I really loved Spellingcity.com and will introduce it to the children so they can play at home. I just wish I could offer it to them at school, but we only have one computer! This makes it very difficult to do anything with technology in the classroom. Has anyone tried it as a whole class??

Julia Sirianni (not verified)

Vocabulary

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I think that these are all great tools. I really enjoyed looking at the weboword.com website! I think that it is so important to make reading fun for students and not so much a chore. I think this is a great way to open up the world of vocabulary to children in a fun and amusing way instead of dry and boring worksheets. I really think that kids would enjoy using the to use the tools and worksheets to increase their skills!

Sue Little (not verified)

We also use SAT Vocabulary

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We also use SAT Vocabulary Cartoons. They are fantastic because they have rhyming words, cartoons with captions, definitions, and three sentences using the words in context. We use the SAT Cartoons with the Inspiration computer program. The students make graphic organizers and use them to study their words.

Mary Kuzawa (not verified)

Vocabulary

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Thanks for all the great websites. I have used starfall, Thatquiz, and others. Superkids.com is great for making word searches! Thanks for sharing.

Constance Patterson (not verified)

Vocabulary

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You all have been a godsend!! I have been searching for different activities to use in the classroom. I introduce new vocabulary words every week and I try to keep my activities new, refreshing, and engaging. The websites you provided will help out tremendously.

Sridhar Iyer (not verified)

Online Vocabulary Card Creator

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www.readinglogs.com offers an easy to use online vocabulary card creator - teachers can post their vocab (and spelling) words online. Students access these (from home or in class), create vocabulary cards and practice spelling skills. It is a free site, cuts down on paper usage.

Crystal Taylor (not verified)

Vocabulary

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I like to use the website starfall.com. It has phonics, stories, games, and printables for teachers.

Stephanie (not verified)

Vocabulary

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I like the links that you have included on this page. I have used visuwords before and I think it is cool to see the different words that are rooted to one word. I also like the freerice site.

However, I have also used this site http://dictionary.reference.com

My students like to use it because on this site they can find the defintions for their vocabulary words, as well as it has a thesaurus, encyclopedia, and translator that the students could use for their vocabulary development.

Director of Programming and Innovation @Edutopia

Wordnik

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(Staff comment)

Love this thread. Another great resource is wordnik.com, a total time-sink for the linguaphile! Some interesting integration with Twitter and Flickr, too.

Raquel (not verified)

You should check out Kenji

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You should check out Kenji Hakuta's new site www.wordsift.com. I think it's an exciting tool to use to plan. Haven't played with it enough to know for sure how I'd use it directly with students. But it definitely gives me a lot to think about as a teacher of language.

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