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Vocabulary.com: A Word Nerd’s Paradise

Vocabulary.com, might sound like a basic, simple web site where teachers and students can find word lists and some basic learning activities. However, don’t be fooled by its simple, unassuming name. Vocabulary.com is a vibrant community for anyone who wishes to learn new words. Its materials, which are most appropriate for upper elementary through high school students, can be used in a classroom or at home.

You’re welcomed into the experience as soon as you land on the home page, which greets you with a quiz. Completing the quiz establishes a baseline level of aptitude. The site is very user-friendly and easy to navigate, which means students can use the site in school or at home with minimal parent or teacher support.

The home page engages you right away.

Using the Site

If you scroll down the page, you’ll find a chart summarizing the four basic aspects of how the site works.

Learning to use the site takes just a few minutes.

Once you complete the initial quiz, you can work through the lists and lessons. The site uses sophisticated technology to create a personalized experience for you, which means it’s able to focus on words you struggle with.

The site uses a clear, thoughtful approach to teaching vocabulary.

According to its home page, the site works by combining its adaptive learning system, referred to as ‘The Challenge’ with ‘The Dictionary’ which they claim is the world’s fastest.

The dictionary contains several great features.

A variety of activities help to reinforce new learning. Words are pulled from a variety of resources and then analyzed for usefulness, which means no time is wasted on learning arcane and outdated words.
Creating a free individual account allows you to monitor progress, and build proficiency by studying lists and taking quizzes. As you master more words, you move up levels and accumulate achievements.

Creating an account allows you to monitor your progress.

Learning New Words

Once you complete your initial assessment, you can choose a list to study. Current lists include SAT words and words from a variety of literary works. The scope of the lists extends well beyond the confines of the English classroom, examining vocabulary from speeches, historical documents and current events.

Word lists cover a wide range of topics.

Recent news-related lists focus on net neutrality and the measles outbreak. There are also lists for students and teachers interested in morphology and roots, as well as a collection of fun lists.
The types of questions used to help you learn the words vary. The site’s content includes an explanation of each type of question and how it’s relevant to instruction.

Different types of questions improve understanding.

There are fill-in-the-blank questions along with multiple choice questions. Spelling questions are incorporated into each lesson but can also be focused on exclusively.
You can use the Dictionary feature to find definitions. It also includes brief articles on commonly confused words, such as ‘accept’ and ‘except’ and uses clever examples to help you remember the difference.

Easily confused words are clearly explained.

Additional Features

The site’s primary purpose is to help its users build more powerful vocabularies. However it includes a blog which covers a motley assortment of vocabulary-related topics.

A unique blog features vocabulary-related posts.

Recent posts include a piece about Nigel Hayes, an NCAA player for the Wisconsin Badgers, who also sports an impressive vocabulary. Posts are well-organized into categories, making it easy for readers to find the content that most appeals to them.

Overall, Vocabulary.com is an excellent resource for educators, students and parents, as well as anyone else who enjoys the challenge of mastering new words.

Written March 23, 2015 by Tracy Derrel


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