“One forgets words as one forgets names. One’s vocabulary needs constant fertilizing or it will die.” – Evelyn Waugh
Wordsource | Quizlet | Dictionary Tooltip Review
By now you’ve likely heard about “Web 2.0″, which means a lot of things but generally relates to the new wave of websites that look and feel more like desktop applications. Another Web 2.0 hallmark is the rise of social networks and user generated content (a fancy way of saying that end-users – meaning YOU – play an active role in creating the content that drives the site). High school kids are more likely to encounter new vocabulary online instead of reading the newspaper or a magazine. Today we profile a collection of websites and tools that make the building of your vocabulary less painful, if not even mildly fun.
Wordsource is a new social dictionary and thesaurus that features all sorts of bells and whistles. Beside the obvious of looking up words, users can upload and share photos they associate with the word, tag it, cite it, and even hear a computer-driven pronunciation. If you need to kill some time, you can even play hangman or a “jumble” word-sort game. You can quickly lookup any word by typing the word after the URL string http://word.sc/, such as http://word.sc/vocabulary.
ePrep’s David Dean tipped me about Quizlet, a wicked-cool website that allows you to create your own flashcards and lists. Start by entering a list of words and definitions called a “set”. Quizlet will let you drill on these sets by creating random tests that can feature multiple choice, matching and true/false questions. There’s even a “scatter” game that lets you drag and drop a word on top of its correct definition, causing them both to disappear. Study groups can share vocabulary lists and collaborate real-time with instant discussion tools.
Our third vocabulary recommendation is more of a tool than a website. Firefox users can install a new “Dictionary Tootip” extension that will allow you to look up a word’s definition without leaving the page you’re visiting. No longer do you need to open a new browser, go to dictionary.com, and look up a new word.
SAT vocabulary lists are a popular item among high school students preparing for the SAT test. However, the best preparation for SAT vocabulary begins by developing the habit of looking up new words as you discover them. SAT word lists are akin to reading Cliff Notes instead of the book. They might help you squeak by the SAT test, but they won’t give you a solid vocabulary foundation.