App review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2013
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Memorize, review, and acquire 40 SAT-caliber words

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Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Critical Thinking, College & Career Prep

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Pros: High interest anecdotes make learning words easy and meaningful.

Cons: No user accounts for multiple students; no auditory word pronounciations.

Bottom Line: Excellent method for learning vocab teaches good study technique, too.

Cultiwords is great for individual daily vocabulary practice. In a 1:1 or bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment, teachers could have kids memorize a new word daily and work through their review words as a warm-up, daily activity, or homework. Teacher could also introduce a word-a-day using Cultiwords on screen with the whole class working through the memorization and review together.

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Cultiwords uses repetition and memory techniques to help students learn and remember 40 SAT-caliber vocabulary words. Extension packs of word collections can be added for $.99 each. Students start by attempting to identify the word, then reviewing the definition, which includes phonetic pronunciation, etymology, definition, and anecdotes about the word. At that point, they can choose to forget the word (and learn it at another time), add it to their dictionary, or share it on Facebook. Once the word is added to the dictionary, kids review the word, along with others in the dictionary, until they have identified it correctly three times. Then the word is "acquired" and moved to the acquired list in the dictionary. The dictionary shows the list of words "in process of acquisition" and words "acquired." Students can only review the words once per day, and are reminded with push notification.

With just a few minutes a day, students can dramatically improve their vocabularies using the process of memorization and review. The definitions go beyond the meaning of the wordby giving a colorful narrative of the word's origin and meaning, making it more likely to be remembered. Phonetic information is included in the definitions, but there's no option to hear the words pronounced, which would be a nice feature. The words included in the base set are: austerity, avuncular, back judge, cajole, caustic, colloquial, deplorable, eloquent, eros, gorgon, grouse, hiatus, irate, julienne, kismet, largess, meticulous, officious, paragon, phoneme, phytochemical, plaudit, precocious, quisling, quixotic, repugnant, salubrious, spurious, sultry, ubiquitous, and unctuous.

Overall Rating


Interesting anecdotes about the words engage kids, and the overall design of short quizzes, interesting definitions and anecdotes, and the utilization of memorization and review motivate kids to learn.


Interesting information about each word gives a depth of understanding. Learning is baked in through repeated exposure to the words.


There are no user accounts, so only one person can track progress at a time. The dictionary shows all words "in process of acquisition" and all words "acquired."

Common Sense reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

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Featured review by
Stephanie T. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Detroit Country Day School
Beverly Hills, United States
An easy-to-use vocabulary builder with solid review tools, but users will need to buy more packs of words.
My take is that there are better apps for building vocabulary that are free or won't cost as much money. This app is a little sneaky in the fact that it seems like you'd get more for buying it then you do, as there are multiple in-app purchases that will need to be made once your student gets through the first 40 words offered by the initial cost of $0.99. I really think it should be stated on the app store that users will need to purchase additional words if they are going to seriously use this app fo ...
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