Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2015
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Grade 6 Vocab Audios and Pics

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Quirky cartoons, great audio features bring fun to vocab study

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5-7 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Quizzes provide immediate feedback, and students can then focus on unlearned words.

Cons: The app offers too few words and lacks stats, and the settings don't work.

Bottom Line: An okay tool for vocab study; look elsewhere for better progress tracking and more kid-friendly animation.

This is a solid tool to make learning words fun. Teachers can use Grade 6 Vocab Audio and Pics as a supplement to a vocabulary practice that includes other apps, or offer a flashcard each day as a warm-up or closing activity. The quizzes are great practice, but students will need to self-report their scores if teachers want to monitor them.

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Grade 6 Vocab Audio and Pics is one in a series of vocabulary-building apps. Quirky cartoons illustrate each word, and detailed, high-quality audio recordings present "short stories" or usage examples. Through study, flashcard, and multiple-choice quiz modes, students can learn 218 middle school-level words like deluge, gainful, and nonconformist.

In study mode, kids search or scroll for particular words, read the part of speech and definition, enjoy a cartoon, flip the page for usage text, or press the (somewhat cryptic) audio button at the bottom (it's a right arrow) to hear the definition and usage. Flashcard mode shows only the word and part of speech, but kids can tap to see the cartoon as a hint or flip for the definition. Twenty-word quizzes give five definition choices. Correct answers are highlighted in green with a check mark, while incorrect answers are marked in red with an X. Words get separated by students or by quiz results into “mastered” and "don't know" lists.

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Grade 6 Vocab Audio and Pics taps into a middle schooler's quirky sense of humor, which means new vocab words will be grafted onto their brains. The graphics are crisp, navigation is intuitive, and the audio feature is great for kids who struggle with reading or learning disabilities. Entries also feature spot-on definitions and parts of speech, which are sometimes left out of competing products.

Even with all these great features, we have a few quibbles. Cartoons are sometimes a bit off, depicting more of a related concept. For example, the word intensive shows a group of business people resting on the beach in their suits and skirts, preumably after some kind of conference or business meeting. It's cute and funny but a bit confusing, not to mention adult-oriented. Also, settings don't seem to work, performance statistics are only available at the ends of quizzes, and the cartoons lack diversity.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Cartoons illustrate word meanings to make them memorable and fun, but there's minimal interaction in this flashcard-style review.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

The vocabulary list includes more than 200 grade-level words, but there's no way to create custom lists. Kids can review mastered words or words they haven't mastered yet.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

Navigation is intuitive with simple, sleek controls: study words, flashcards, or take quiz. Students get immediate feedback on right and wrong quiz answers. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

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