It’s Almost Spring! “Grow” Your Vocabulary!

Having a large vocabulary is a great advantage when you’re writing essays or stories. Choosing exactly the right words makes your piece more meaningful and interesting. Why describe someone as “happy” when you could use “jubilant,” “chirpy,” or “ecstatic” instead? And happy’s opposite? It could be “sad” but what about “despondent,” “morose,” or “depressed”?

Synonyms are words that have the same or similar meanings. Each word’s meaning is just a tiny bit different and using different words to talk about similar emotions or situations makes your writing richer and more interesting for your readers. Synonym games help you get an even stronger understanding of what each word means. Playing synonym games is also a great way to learn new vocabulary! Try Which One, Synonym or Antonym?

Antonyms are words that have opposite meanings. Take “exhausted” a synonym would be “tired” whereas an antonym is “invigorated” or “energetic.” Antonym games at vocabulary.co.il give you a chance to practice identifying words that are antonyms. You’ll not only develop a larger vocabulary, but you’ll grow to have a better understanding of the subtle differences in the meanings of each word. Find antonym games for Grades 3-12 here.

Looking for more free synonym and antonym activities? Visit our sister site, VocabularySpellingCity . There you’ll find video lessons, enrichment strategies, and featured games using synonyms and antonyms.

 

SAT Practice

Spring SATs and ACTs are looming, and vocabulary.co.il has some great ways to turn your jitters into higher scores through word practice.

Vocabulary is a big part of the SAT tests and any little bit of practice can help you cement words you don’t know well into your memory. That will help you get them right on the test. Just a few minutes of practice each day can really make a difference!

MatchIt and Word-O-Rama games help you match the words to their definitions. It’s good practice. Plus, reading both the definitions and the words helps you get to know new words and definitions better.

Speedy Speller gives you practice with spelling each word. While you’re typing the word, you listen to a context-rich sentence, helping you to understand each word’s meaning.

Word Search challenges you to find SAT words in the traditional grid puzzle.

 

Take a look at the SAT Words page on vocabulary.co.il . You’ll find lots of games to play, and with just a few minutes of practice a day, you’ll do loads to improve your score!

New Games Build Phonics Skills!

Want to keep the kids engaged and yet also build reading skills? If you said yes, our sister site, VocabularySpellingCity has some great new games for you!

Each of these new games and activities has visual and oral elements to help players connect sounds with letters, syllables, and words. And they all reinforce comprehension of new vocabulary, too. These games are a great way to strengthen reading and language skills.

TeachMe More gives children a chance to learn new words. In TeachMe More, children explore spelling, syllables, sounds, context in a sentence, definition and the part of speech. Buttons allow children to choose what they want to hear or read. Repetition helps children who are learning to read or say new words to learn them quickly.

SillyBulls helps children learn how to divide words into syllables. Children hear and see each word multiple times. They sort by syllables, say it aloud and hear a contextually rich sentence, reinforcing vocabulary skills as well. Those SillyBulls really make learning fun!

Initial Sound Speller and Final Sound Speller are two phonics games that help children recognize initial and final sounds in words. In playing, they begin to connect how the sounds correspond to spelling.

These games are a great way to help kids who are learning to read and adults or kids who are learning to read English! Try them with our pre-made lists. Love them? A premium membership allows you to create your own lists to use with the games. That’s perfect for reading groups, writing workshops, or review!

Love Those Long Words!

I once picked Gone With the Wind as my summer reading book because it had a lot of pages. I loved to read, sure, but I also looked very grown up hauling around the one-thousand-plus page hardcover from the city library.

It’s not uncommon for kids to pick books that are too hard for them because they look impressive. Interestingly, researchers have found that many students will read and understand books that test results say should be way too hard for them. For these kids motivation trumps suggested reading levels.

I’ve seen the same phenomena in schools in which the students are allowed to choose their own vocabulary or spelling words. There are always a few who choose the longest words because they look impressive.

At vocabulary.co.il we’ve got a few games that are exactly right for the kids who want to impress, and they’ll help any kid build his or her vocabulary. Compound words are lovely and long. They look impressive. They’re also made up of two words that students are likely to know already, so they’re challenging but not too challenging for younger kids.

In Line Match players match two words to make a new, longer word.

 

In Which One? players find the word that completes a compound word.

 

In Break It Up players read a compound word and divide it into its two components.

 

So get your elementary school kids playing compound word games today. These long words are a great start to building an impressive vocabulary!

Meaningful Science Fun!

Are you wild about science? Do you love finding and trying out new concepts?

Science4Us is an online science curriculum for kids in K-2. It helps students build science skills through interactive online lessons, games, and offline hands-on activities. Assessments are built in and online assessments automatically add the students’ score to their file, making things easy for the teacher or parent.

Introductory and open-ended activities, both on and offline, help students access their knowledge and develop questions about the topic. In Exploring the Universe, students get to “fly” through our solar system.

Four to six minute lessons in each module teach the main concepts, checking viewers’ comprehension along the way. Here’s a lesson all about motion.

Kids learn from online games like Camouflage which challenges kids to find the camouflaged animal in each picture.

Parents and teachers of students in grades 3-5 are finding that Science4Us makes a great science review and sometimes teaches skills students don’t yet have. For example, this Take a Note activity helps students learn what controls and variables are.

Ready to have some science fun? Click through to Science4Us and see what you can learn!

Oxymorons

A fine mess, a bird dog, a quiet revolution, oxymorons are phrases in which the words are opposites but even so make sense in context.

Test your skill with popular oxymorons with Match and Make: Oxymorons. Match the two words that make the best oxymorons.

 

Mastered oxymorons and looking for more word fun? Our Idioms Games page has lots of great games. Play them to match popular sayings with their literal meanings.

Got Context?

What in the world does that mean? Context is one of the many skills readers use to figure out the meaning of unknown words. The words and sentences that surround an unknown word, its context, can help us understand a word’s meaning. Context can also help readers build a more complex understanding of a word’s meaning and nuances.

When readers add using context clues to their reading strategies they begin to build vocabulary and comprehension skills. Though more experienced readers tend to encounter fewer unknown words, readers at every skill level will benefit from learning to use context clues when they read.

Vocabulary.co.il has games to help readers at every level practice discern meaning through context while having fun.

Line Match games challenge players to match words with contextually rich sentences. Choose words from Ramona Forever, Call of the Wild, Romeo and Juliet and other famous works of literature.

In Which Word, players choose the best word for the sentence, allowing them to practice using context clues with each question. Instant feedback allows players to learn as they go.

Need an even greater challenge? 100 High School Word Search is a very challenging word search puzzle in which players are given the definition of a word and challenged to find the word in the grid. This is a great activity to bone up for the SATs or simply to exercise the little gray cells.

So if you need a little context in your day, build your vocabulary skills with fun word games on vocabulary.co.il.

Apostrophe or No Apostrophe? That is the Question.

Contractions, those bits of smashed together words, are tricky. Most contractions require an apostrophe to stand for the missing letters: don’t (do not), it’s (it is), or haven’t (have not). Some contractions don’t have an apostrophe: none (not one), shoulda (should have), wanna (want to), or outta (out of).

Writing contractions can be difficult for elementary school students and English Language Learners to master. Is there an apostrophe? Where do you put it? What words does the contraction stand for, anyway? It’s enough to stress dutiful students out!

Don’t worry, though. Vocabulary.co.il has a stress-free solution to contraction woes. Five online contractions games help students of all ages understand the meaning and spelling of common contractions. Here’s what you’ll find.

Fill It In Contractions Game challenges players to type contractions from the words they’re made of.

Fill It In: Un-contraction Game challenges players to unpack the contractions into their original words.

Memory Match is a flip the cards game where players match the contraction with its parts.

 

Break It Up challenges players to place the apostrophe in the contraction.

 

Which One? challenges players to choose the correctly spelled contraction.

 

Don’t stress out about contractions! Pick a game and have fun with contractions today!

Crosswords or Scrabble?

Do you love word games? I do! Among word nerds there’s often an argument about whether crossword puzzles or Scrabble are a better mental exercise.

Not long ago, a team of researchers set out to test the brains of champion Scrabble players and crossword masters to see who was smarter. The results were just about even – except that the crossword puzzlers came out on top when it came to verbal analogies. Surprisingly though, both the players and the puzzlers came out well ahead of the control group, and all three groups had comparable verbal SAT scores.

Curious? You can read more about the study here.

If you’d like to ready yourself to mix it up with champions at Scrabble or the daily crossword puzzle, or if you’d simply like to have fun playing with words, we’ve got some links to great online practice games.

CrosswordOur sister site, VocabularySpellingCity.com has crossword puzzles to play online. They’ll give you practice finding words to match the definition or context of the clue. Choose a list by grade level!

 

We can help budding word nerds at vocabulary.co.il, too! Unscramble Games help you practice making words out of scrambled letters, just like in Scrabble.

 

Our Which One? Analogy Game is accompanied by two analogy lessons, just to ensure that you come out top dog! So get playing and build your brain!

 

 

Reading Strategies – Root Words

When students are learning to read, they encounter books filled with simple words, perfect for encouraging new readers with early success. Many of these consonant-vowel-consonant combinations simply need sounding out. Most kids will recognize these simple words when they hear them. Past this basic level of reading, however, readers begin to encounter words they don’t already know.

Readers facing unfamiliar words can profit from breaking them down into parts they do know. The root word holds the main meaning of a longer word. Understanding the root will help readers get the gist of the meaning. Prefixes and suffixes modify the meaning or tense of the word or make it plural.

Understanding many different root words can help students with reading comprehension. It can also help with standardized test success. Vocabulary.co.il has games to give you practice identifying root words while having fun. The games are leveled for elementary, middle school, and high school learners.

Play Root Word Meaning Match to test your knowledge of root word meanings. Play Dividing Root Words to separate the root from the prefixes and suffixes in the word.

Looking for more? Our sister site, VocabularySpellingCity.com, has premade lists  that feature common Latin and Greek word roots. Simply choose a root like “man” or “graph”, click to get the list, and then choose a learning activity or game to practice. It’s fun, free, and a great introduction to the site!