Monday, February 7, 2011

VocabAhead - TOS

There is nothing like a coming across a word in a book, in a conversation, or on a test that you don't know to make you feel, well, uneducated.  The average college graduate is thought to have a working vocabulary of about 20,000 words.  A person starts school with 4000-5000 words and adds about 1000 a year through college.

But just like trivia, not everyone knows every word that everyone else does.  The English language is thought to have around a million words!  So what is a person to do to be prepared for things like SAT vocabulary analogies?

The sensible approach is to add a core group of words to your vocabulary.  You know, the ones that are most likely to show up in places where you need to know what is going on.  And while making flash cards of each word and their definitions is doable, it isn't necessarily the easiest or most time effective way to increase your personal word bank.

VocabAhead has a variety of products designed to address this conundrum. The product I tried is the 1000 SAT Vocabulary Videos and mp3s.

This DVD-ROM contains both auditory (mp3s) and visual (cartoon) aids for increasing your vocabulary.  After inserting the DVD-ROM into my computer (it wouldn't work in my DVD player) and I could watch or listen to the files, which were listed in alphabetical order.  You can also download both the video and mp3 files onto an iPod, iPhone or iPad, but we own none of these, so I could not give that a try.

The mp3 files worked best for our family, as they could be put onto Dragonette's mp3 player and be mixed up with her songs.  She gets a word here and there, continually, instead of trying to memorize a long list at once.  About half of the word list she already knew, so she did not download those files.  She takes words off her play list as she learns them, allowing the ones she was struggling with to have maximum play time. 

The video files did not work nearly as well for our family.  The only medium we have to access these is a desktop, and it just was not practical to sit down and review words this way.  These are not moving videos, but instead a cartoon that was overlaid with the corresponding mp3 track.  For us and our available technology, a book would have been a more useful visual tool, as it is much more mobile.

Products Available:
Book containing 300 SAT essential words with DVD-ROM - $12.95 on Amazon
DVD-ROM with 1000 SAT words - $24.99 on Amazon
An app for iPhones and iPods available on iTunes - I am not able to access iTunes from my computer, so I could not look up the price for the apps

If you are looking for an SAT vocabulary resource that does not involve the internet, the DVD-ROM would be the VocabAhead resource to look at. However, if you do not want a book, mp3 files, or the ability to use on an i anything, many of the words are available for free on VocabAhead's website.  You can watch the videos, hear the audio, and in the Teachers' section you can set up custom word lists, use widgets, and make your own vocabulary videos.  The Study Room has quizzes and flashcards. And on the main pages you can sign up for a word of the day to land in your email each day.

VocabAhead provides a variety of ways to increase your vocabulary.

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