Though we try to ensure our high schoolers are prepared to take the SAT or ACT, it's often for the math or essay portions. Sometimes, vocabulary is one of those things that we might assume our kids will just know. But how would they know if they haven't given them the means to? Yes, you may have a dictionary in your home and there's always access to literature and such, but reading the words, even studying the words, doesn't always solidify the definitions in our minds. Putting the words into context is better than simply reading the definition, but doesn't always make it memorable. So how do we help our students remember?
As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we have been introduced to a company, Vocab Videos, that has developed a method that may help your student remember vocabulary words and ultimately increase his SAT score.
Vocab Videos has taken 500 essential SAT and high school vocabulary words and created short clips that illustrate their usage. Because the student hears the word in a contextual way, it makes more sense than just reading the definition. The "hilarious professionally produced" skits are about 10 minutes long and contain "episodes of 20 words...forming 25 unforgettable miniseries [with] outrageous plotlines and entertaining characters" (Vocab Videos). The skits are parodies of shows like Lost, The Office, 24, and Gossip Girl.
Vocab Videos offers all of the following components:
- Digital Quizzes: SAT-style questions follow each episode
- Digital Worksheets: Provide space to write sentences, synonyms or mnemonic devices
- Flashcard Maker: Create multimedia flashcards for ANY subject
- Alphabetical Glossary: Searchable glossary containing links to all individual videos
- Category Lists: Words are grouped by common themes
- Crossword Puzzles: Downloadable crossword puzzles categorized by episode
- Special Educator Features: Monitor class progress; download study materials for printing
- Definitions, pronunciation guides, & example sentences
- Synonyms & categories to form connections between words
- Roots, etymologies, & other memory aids
What we thought: the concept behind Vocab Videos is excellent. I do agree that learning words within the proper context and having it be a memorable, or catchy, skit makes it fun and interesting to learn. However, I did not like the skits that were created. The shows that they are based on are pop culture shows, which we do not watch. I have actually never watched them nor will my kids. I am concerned that they are adult based shows and these videos are for teens, not adults. For those of you that have followed me for a while, you may know how I feel about society's negative influence on teens. I love a good joke and we are a very sarcastic family; but there's a difference between everyone having fun and picking on someone. These videos, unfortunately, are filled with crass humor, in my opinion, and riddled with hurtful sarcasm. For this review, my 12 yo son was not even allowed to watch the videos and my 16yo daughter didn't want to watch them after hearing them as I listened. For some families, Vocab Videos may fit perfectly or be acceptable, but for mine, they were not.
You can watch a few short clips on You Tube or watch an intro video by clicking on the "Fun & Engaging" video clip near the middle right of the page. You will be able to get an idea of what the videos are. Like I stated above, you may feel that Vocab Videos will work for you and your family. The concept is excellent and I can definitely see the benefits that could come from watching a word come to life.
To read other reviews of Vocab Videos from fellow crew members, click the link below.