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Great Vocabulary Games, Apps, and Sites

Building vocabulary is necessary for fluid reading and writing. But a great vocabulary depends on students getting early, often, and sustained exposure to words that expand their horizons. These great vocabulary games, apps, and websites do just that, getting words in front of students in engaging ways, and giving students supports to understand definitions, uses, and meanings. Use these vocabulary tools -- alongside a regular reading habit -- to help students build word knowledge. They feature tech-enabled supports like text-to-speech, customizable flash cards, adaptive instruction, and clever gameplay. There are also resources for teachers to craft activities, lessons, and assessments to keep kids' vocabulary skills on track.

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Beck and Bo

Drag-and-drop adventure great for learning new words in context

Bottom line: Your wee one will enjoy animating Beck and Bo's world while developing creativity and logic.

Endless Wordplay: School Edition

Rhymes, phonetic approach, silly animations help kids construct words

Bottom line: Good, holistic approach to the nitty gritty of constructing words.

Montessorium: Intro to Words

Well-crafted app lets emerging readers and writers develop reading skills through word building

Bottom line: Basic reading skills are developed through word building, word play, and letter-sound recognition.

Flocabulary

Delightful hip-hop-based platform teaches vocab across content areas

Bottom line: Flocabulary has the goods: It's savvy enough to keep kids focused, and teachers will love the engaging, multi-modal platform.

ReadWorks Digital

Research-based site makes it easy to assign, differentiate readings

Bottom line: An effective digital reinvention of the trusted ReadWorks platform that makes it simple to distribute and track high-quality reading assignments.

VocabularySpellingCity

Subscription-based, student-facing app fine for independent practice

Bottom line: A potentially more engaging -- although uneven -- option for your students, if you've got a Premium membership.

Osmo Words

Versatile word game challenges across content areas and abilities

Bottom line: Fun game-like way to review spelling or content vocabulary.

Spaceteam ESL

Chaotic game offers silly yet novel way to practice English vocab

Bottom line: An irresistibly fun way for ELLs to practice high-frequency English vocabulary, but as an app it's a bit rough around the edges.

Words With Friends EDU

Super-fun school version introduces preset list of academic words

Bottom line: Kids can have fun learning new words, though it'll probably take more to really cement these terms into vocabulary.

Word Runners - Touch Press Games

Clever combo of vocab and puzzle solving is a tad limited

Bottom line: Stories cleverly integrate reading comprehension and problem-solving skills within the engaging context of an adventure-themed puzzle.

Roots to Words

Baked-in vocab-building with Greek and Latin roots

Bottom line: Getting to the root of words creates a healthy vocabulary.

MasterSwords

Scrabble meets Choose Your Own Adventure in a dueling of (s)words

Bottom line: While it could use more gameplay variety, students will enjoy this game's Adventure Time-inspired take on vocabulary and spelling.

World's Worst Pet - Vocabulary

Hip games help kids learn words they'll actually use

Bottom line: Learn the meaning of vocabulary words through fun games, and put it to good use as part of everyday conversation.

Membean

Deep, data-driven vocabulary tool challenges learners

Bottom line: Membean has the potential to push students and grow their vocabulary while providing teachers with data they'll love.

W.E.L.D.E.R. Swap

Mashup of Boggle and Candy Crush gets kids forming new words

Bottom line: Students, especially word geeks, will dig this strategic game, but it's unclear how much it'll impact learning.

Ink Blott Underground

Strategic vocab game gets students digging into roots and affixes

Bottom line: This is a win for building vocabulary and word attack skills, but teachers need to provide context and additional instruction to make learning last.

Scribblenauts Remix

Vocab-building word puzzles inspire creative problem-solving

Bottom line: Wide-open problem solving builds creativity, vocabulary, and spelling skills, but controls can be tricky.

Puzzlejuice

Tetris + Boggle + wordsplosions = ultimate language fun

Bottom line: Puzzlejuice offers kids a fun challenge that incorporates logic and language.

Wordcraft

Level up with gamified vocabulary study for middle and high school

Bottom line: While it's got room to grow, this is a tool worth considering for practicing vocabulary based on Greek and Latin roots.

Wordflex Touch Dictionary

Amazing interactive visual dictionary makes exploring words exciting

Bottom line: Dynamic, highly visual presentation makes learning new words exciting.

Vocabulary.com

Smart, stylish site helps students commit new words to memory

Bottom line: It's a great, goal-oriented learning resource with the potential to turn vocab lessons into a fun challenge.

SAT Vocab by MindSnacks

Variety is key in charmingly effective SAT vocab app

Bottom line: Upgrading to the full version gets you great games and a thorough word list for SAT vocab prep.

Visual Thesaurus

Watch words branch out into intriguing, layered language maps

Bottom line: With such a great visual take on the depth of language, more ways to personalize the experience would make it even better.

Vocabador

Kids wrestle challenging words in fun, fighting-themed SAT-prep game

Bottom line: Tournament-style play motivates kids to stick with vocab practice.

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