Review by Andrea Meyers, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2018

Wordcraft

Level up with gamified vocabulary study for middle and high school

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • English Language Learning

Skills
  • College & Career Prep
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
6–12
Common Sense says (See details)
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Not yet reviewed

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Pros: Excellent design that gets students started quickly. Skills effectively reinforced via repetition.

Cons: Students using screen readers may run into morpheme mispronunciation. There's no embedded support or even a FAQ.

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

Teachers can import their class list and assign independent practice or create games for the entire class. Use it as a Do Now activity to start class, or plan a whole lesson around a particular morpheme and have students study in the training mode and then join a game on that morpheme. Assign Wordcraft as homework, and give students goals to reach for, such as increasing the number of stars they earned and their word counts. The teacher dashboard tracks the number of words learned and time played for each student, and students can see their own progress with details on each word learned.

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Wordcraft is a website with a companion mobile app for learning and practicing vocabulary with Greek and Latin roots. On the website, there's a training mode where students improve their decoding and reading comprehension skills by working through learning exercises focused on 58 morphemes. As students unlock each level, they move on to progressively more challenging material with short passages. In addition to the training mode, there are also games that are set up by the teacher. Students join these games using an access code. Each game is timed per the teacher's settings, and students try to get as many words as possible in the allotted time and improve their recall. 

The mobile app is separate and designed for independent learning without the game mode. It does include test prep options such as GRE and SAT/ACT as well as ESL, math, and biology vocabulary studies. The trial version works for up to 50 words, and the paid version offers thousands.

When teachers add students, Wordcraft sends an email to the teacher with all student usernames and passwords. Students don't need to set up their own accounts or provide personal information, which is good for privacy concerns. 

 

Teaching morphemes is a common part of language studies and is well-supported by research literature. Wordcraft gets students to pay closer attention to reading passages and clues while making this process more compelling. If students get hooked, they'll speed along to mastery. To help, teachers should use the class tracking page to gain insight into student progress and use the data to design reteaching, review, and future lesson plans. One note: Using the website with a touchscreen (i.e., pulling it up on a tablet's browser) seems to work best; using a mouse might slow some students down.

Since there are two different versions of Wordcraft (the website and the mobile app), things can get confusing when students head home to practice. Since most teachers will be using the website version, it's important to offer students and parents clear instructions to make sure no one accidentally downloads and pays for the app version if your classroom won't be making use of it.

Overall Rating

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

Students will enjoy the multiplayer spin on vocabulary study. The website and app make it easy and fun for students to track progress and challenge themselves.

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

The website reinforces morphemes, which is critical to building vocabulary. Short reading passages help improve reading comprehension.

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

Currently support is available only via email. There are no links to help files on the site or in the app. There's no audio in the mobile app, making it inaccessible for students with vision or reading disabilities.


Common Sense Reviewer
Andrea Meyers Technology Assistant and graduate student in instructional technology

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