Enchanted Dictionary for iPad
Developing Enchanted Dictionary
As a speech/language pathologist working with middle and high school students I have often struggled with the best methods to support them in learning the seemingly insurmountable amount of vocabulary that they need for their core classes. The first step is usually making them aware that they have vocabulary in each of their classes. To most of them, vocabulary comes in the form of a list of words given in language arts.
Actually, before we start on vocabulary I focus on having them identify the main idea or topic of what they are learning about in each of their classes. Invariably they will start by saying an activity they are doing (web quest, work sheet, group project, etc.) rather than the topic they are learning (two-step equations, cells, ancient Greece). But this difficulty with identifying the main idea is typical of students with language and learning disabilities. Once we have identified the topic I then ask them what important words the teacher has been using to talk about the topic. We pull out their notes, books, and work sheets and make lists. Then we talk about the words, use them to answer questions, write sentences, and compare and contrast. As we do this I will scaffold their language by making a bank of support words on a small white board. They can refer to these words to help their oral or written language.
It was from this process that Enchanted Dictionary was developed. And it has become a huge motivator for my students. They come to my room ready with a topic to discuss from a class and want to see if it is on Enchanted Dictionary. They pay attention to the words that are used in Science, Social Studies, Math and Language Arts and want to practice them using the app. Oh, and they can’t wait to get the definition right so they can “flush” the words.
For those who are interested, we also have some references to research related to vocabulary intervention.