by Hope Morley
Most students (and adults!) acquire new vocabulary through reading, writing, and listening. For many English language learners, that isn’t enough. Direct instruction of vocabulary can make students into better readers, writers, and thinkers. Here are four apps you can use to support vocabulary instruction for your ELL students.
Vocabla is available as either a website or a free iOS/Android app. The app allows you to create lists of words you want to learn, has you practice with digital flashcards, and then quizzes you. If you don’t want to create your own lists, the library has many lists ready to go. Students can choose a native language or choose “other” for an English-only experience.
Like Vocabla, StudyBlue is primarily an online flashcard creator. Teachers can create flashcards for the class or have students create flashcards from their own reading. There are also collaboration settings for small group work. StudyBlue has public lists of words, but they aren’t as robust as Vocabla’s library. Use StudyBlue if you want the most control over the words your students study. (Bonus: It syncs with Evernote!)
English First High Flyers Vocabulary Game
Elementary, Middle School | iOS
This fun iPad game contains both flashcard levels with audio and testing games. The audio helps students with the pronunciation of new words. The app is easy to navigate, allowing for students to guide themselves through their practice. It unfortunately doesn’t have any user options, which makes it difficult to save progress in a classroom with shared iPads.
My Words American English
Elementary | iOS ($1.99)
This app covers basic vocabulary in categories like body parts, colors, and transportation, which means it’s best for kids just starting out with English. The games and quizzes are fun, and the animations are well done. The design is aimed at younger audiences, so this app is not recommended for beginning ELLs older than fifth grade.
What vocabulary tools do you recommend for ELL students? Tell us in the comments.
Hope Morley is a consultant and social media coordinator for Green Light Professional Development. She writes about social media, conferences, and anything else on the web that helps both students and teachers learn. Follow her @GreenlightLT.