Sunday, October 14, 2012

The dictionary app- Vocabulary, here we come!

We are on an never ending quest to improve our vocabulary. I remember being a kid, stuck at a desk, copying definitions, roots, and sentences to learn my five vocabulary words of the week. While it was effective, it was not enjoyable. I don't have this memory because I cherished the experience. Rather, it is indelibly burned on my brain, kind of like a scar lasts forever. I know, enough drama, Mama!

Right now, we are expanding our vocabulary by reading. We are currently enjoying "Farmer Boy" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Periodically, I'll pause on a word and ask the boys if they have the definition. Usually, the answer is no. We then take a look at the sentence. Can we guess the meaning by sentence clues? This strategy is sometimes effective.

Usually, I bust out my super smart phone, and we check out the Merriam Webster app. This is such a great resource!

My kids' favorite feature is the Voice Search. Nothing is cooler than yelling a word at my phone. It's true. What I love is that as I type in the word, if I'm not using voice search, the app auto-detects what I am trying to spell. Then I choose from the drop down list. It's also great at defining adverbs like "easily" and "quickly." Not that you don't know those words. But in a traditional dictionary, you have to try to find the root word first.

As someone who has suddenly found herself reading aloud A LOT, I love that there is an option to hear the word pronounced. For instance, I came across the the word "haymow" in our book. While I was fairly certain I had the right pronunciation, I gave it a try with my app. I was right. I think it's important to let the boys see me look up words too.

This week we studied Longfellow's "Paul Revere's Ride." While it's historically inaccurate, it was a great way to do some vocabulary building. I had the boys highlight words they didn't know the meaning of, and then they got to use the Merriam Webster app to find the definitions of the word that fit in the context of the poem. Highlighters= fun in our house.

This post is linked up with learning ALL The time!!

Favorite Resource This Week


  1. Oh we LOVE this app!! I find myself looking up words all.the.time! Thanks for linking up at Favorite Resources :)

  2. Thanks for hosting, Susan! I used this app four times today, just in our basic reading for the day. It's a great one!