Start building vocabulary with these 5 interactive websites and apps

We’ve all experienced the frustration of having a brilliant, ten-thousand-dollar idea and then stammering because we couldn’t conjure up the right word(s) to articulate it. Even worse than that is having to admit that we never knew the word we were looking for in the first place! You may pride yourself as a wordsmith, but be honest, this has happened to you—and it certainly happens to our students. Make stammering history and start your students’ vocabulary building routine with these 5 FREE (or nearly free) websites and apps:

5 vocabulary building websites and apps

Chicktionary (FREE)
This game is too cute for its own good—that is, until you misspell a word and experience the roosters’ curmudgeonly squawk.

As you may have guessed, it’s a chicken-themed spelling and vocabulary-building game and this one is truly a physical experience. Unscramble a “roost” of letters and create as many words as you can in as little time as possible. Spell your word and tap on it to reveal the definition. Not satisfied with your choices? Shake your iPad to shuffle the letters and get a “farm-fresh” look at your word options.

The Opposites (FREE for a limited time period)
This vocabulary building app will work for anyone between the ages of seven and seventeen. The Opposites asks students to match up pairs of opposing words in increasingly difficult levels. It starts easy enough, but gradually introduces your students to more challenging and ambiguous word combinations. Eventually they’ll be working with stranger and more esoteric pairings from biology, economics, medicine and poetry. Included is a customized, user-friendly dictionary designed specifically for the game.

Vocabulary.com (FREE)
With more than 100,000 multiple-choice questions and an intuitive system that refines word choice and grows with your students, vocabulary building is a cinch. Got a question wrong? No problem, the system will take note of it and schedule review and progress questions. Are your students preparing for the SAT exam? Are they reading The Life of Pi or studying The Emancipation Proclamation?  How about one of President Obama’s press conferences? No problem, Vocabulary.com has a rotating section where users can create and share their own vocab lists.

Weird Word of the Day (FREE)
We were going to try to introduce this app in a witty way, but alas, they beat us to it: “Sometimes when I'm riding in my telega, and I come to a quadrivial, I get out my peirameter for a bit of stradometrical fun. Is this mazy description giving you a scotoma? Maybe you should download this free app and mundify the situation.”

This app contains over 15,000 new weird words, which should—if our math is right—cover you for the next 41.096 years.

Word a Day Visuals and Audio ($.99)
Say “vocabulary building” and watch your students’ faces sour. Pull out your iPad, say “Word a Day Visuals and Audio” and stop the groaning once and for all. This app uses funny illustrations, word scrambles, news items and audio content to help your students build and retain their vocabulary.

Download our FREE guide: 50 No-Nonsense, No Fluff Apps for Teachers

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Karen, these are great links for teaching vocabulary!  I recently came across another site that could be great for teaching vocabulary: Wordnik.  Might be better for older students, but it gives various uses of the word, as well as syonyms, sentenences, and pictures for the visual learner.

Hi, Mary:

Thank you for your suggestion. I'll definitely look into Wordnik. Someone else just recommended another vocabulary-building app I wasn't familiar with: Word Dynamo.

Have a great afternoon.

These are great sites and i will be sure to check them out.  I was wondering what the students are saying about using these sites to learn vocabulary words?

Thanks for the links,I've tired some of them.And I think Wordnik and Word dynamo are great sites to be used in and out of the classroom.Also, I use another vocabulary site http://freerice.com/#/english-vocabulary/1385 in order to study.

I just now checked out Free Rice. I need to read more about it, but it's definitely a cool concept. Thanks for the suggestion, Dilek.

These are excellent sites and I really like “Dynamo.dictionary”.  I am already thinking about how to use the website with my students.  I really like the academic subject section “Computer & Business Study Guides”.  You can print out flashcards, worksheets, study guides and vocabulary lists.  I am excited to share these sites with co-workers

Thanks for reading and commenting, Corinthia. Keep me posted on how these sites work with your students!

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