Common Sense Review
Updated January 2013

Words, Words, Words

Unengaging vocabulary booster has some weird quirks
Common Sense Rating 2
  • A question in the “word” version of the quiz section.
  • A definition in the learn section of the app.
  • In the game section, kids must unscramble the word for the given definition.
  • In the settings, students can choose beginner, easy medium, or hard; a quiz size of 5, 10, or 20 questions, and other options.
Pros
Easy to use and navigate, the app offers a simple way to acquire some new vocabulary.
Cons
It just isn't very engaging, and without saved scores, it doesn't enhance learning or give kids a reason to return.
Bottom Line
Motivated word-lovers may enjoy playing around, but for others, it's difficult to use as a real learning tool.
Graphite Staff
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 2
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 2

You might be able to increase your vocabulary with this app, but there's no draw other than an intrinsic desire to play with words -- no notable graphics, scores kept for future reference, or hints given. It's a plain-vanilla package.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 2

There's no indication of how the word databank was chosen or how the level for each word was determined, making it hard for kids to benefit by studying appropriate words.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 1

No help menu here, but it's not necessary since the app is simple and intuitive. Quiz scores aren't saved, making them largely irrelevant, especially since the Try Again option may or may not contain the words that the user got wrong.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
What's It Like?

Word, Words, Words offers a 2,000-word database of vocabulary words for review with a goal of helping users enhance their vocabulary. The four levels of play (Beginner, Easy, Medium, and Hard) are arranged in a rough hierarchy that the user can reset. The Learn section acts as a preset dictionary with a review of the words at one level of difficulty, along with their definitions and optional built-in pronunciation.

Words are not tied to any theme, age level, grade level, or other organizational category. They seem to have been chosen randomly, as have the distracters, which sometimes seem rather odd. For example, "a period of seven days" is a choice for the definition of ocean, and "the number 20" for the definition of artist. It seems as if the distracters are also random.

The main screen of Words, Words, Words has three basic options for play: Learn, Quiz, and Game. There are no further levels. Learn offers a medley of words based on the setting (Beginner, Easy, Medium, or Hard) along with its definition and an option to hear the word pronounced. Once you’ve scrolled through the list, there is no other option.

It's designed for review, not for any in-depth analysis or word play. In the Quiz section, the user selects the appropriate definition of a given word or chooses the appropriate word for a definition. Either way, the words are randomized. The user's score for that quiz is tallied but not saved. The game is a word scramble, again based on the data bank, but it, too, is random within the difficulty level.

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Is It Good For Learning?

The quiz section might be entertaining for someone who's interested in checking his/her vocabulary power, but if you're trying to learn the word, the app is randomized, so you may or may not see the word again the next time you try it, and there's no way to purposefully access it again. Of course, you can always go to a dictionary, but that's hardly the point.

The Game section is a scramble of words from the word bank within the set level of difficulty. If you like word scrambles and are good at them, you'll find this fun; if not, you're out of luck, as it's the only game or puzzle in the app. This section is also random, so even if you like word scrambles, they're hard to do with totally unfamiliar words. It would have been much more useful had the game been clearly tied to the other activities. For the words that are familiar, however, it's a good exercise for review (the definition is included with the scramble) and spelling, since you’re required to type in the word, and if you misspell it, it's marked as wrong. This game is also tricky as the definitions for the scrambled words are often not quite right.

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