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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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How the Internet Can Help Kids Build Their Vocabulary

Jim Moulton

Technology Integration and Project-Based Learning Consultant

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?

Jim Moulton

Technology Integration and Project-Based Learning Consultant
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Comments (26)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Andi Friedland's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I really liked the options you gave for vocabulary! I loved Spellingcity.com and want to incorporate it in my classroom. I may have the students play it at home because it is a fun way to interact with spelling and still learn. I would love to implement this at school but we only have one working computer. I was wondering if anyone has ever used it as a whole class activity? I am sure it is difficult but I thought I would ask.

Althea's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks for these great links. I am Althea, a preschool teacher in Massachusetts. I work in a home school environment. For my students I mainly use software materials from www.montessorihomeschool.com. I know this material does not require using the internet, however, it is still an experience with technology and it is an excellent tool for young learners in building their vocabulary.

Lillian Geltz's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Another great site is quizlet at quizlet.com. It provides a variety of activities, including making flash cards, playing games with the words and more. I have a competitive class of boys who love the game part...and they learn the words! Learning CAN be fun! :-)

Dana Persels's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks for the information. I am always looking for new ways to increase vocabulary skills. The students will love working on the computers. Maybe they won't think they're eating spinach, if you know what I mean. Can't wait to get them started!

Lorrie Dixon's picture

Thank you. I teach Kindergarten, but I am helping a fourth grade student learn English and learn some basic skills because she has not had formal education of any kind before coming to our school. The student's fourth grade teacher thought it would be helpul to have the child start for just an hour day in the K classroom to build early skills. The websites that you provided will be additional resources that we can tap to help this student catch up. I am especialy interested in using the vocabulary games, with the fourth grader as well as my Kindergarteners. Thanks again.
Lorrie Dixon

Tiffany Collins's picture

Using journal writing is a way to help students build their vocabulary. Depending on the age of the student they may struggle using some words. So to help students be independent these are some great tools to use during journal writing.

Jackie's picture

Thank you so much for these helpful resources. As an ESL teacher, I'm always looking for new ways to teach vocabulary and spelling in a fun and creative way. I especially liked the spellcity.com, Vocabulary.co.il, andVocabulary.com. I will definitely use these websites with my students.

jollibee's picture

gFlashcards is very good alternative to Quzilet. You can create your own images and audio flashcards for free.

jollibee's picture

gFlashcards is very good alternative to Quzilet. You can create your own images and audio flashcards for free.

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