What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that SAT Word Slam is a vocabulary learning and testing app based on the book by Jodi Fodor. In fact, the 400 words in the app utilize many of the same definitions, poems, and mnemonics as the book. Each word is accompanied by a poem, mnemonic device, definition, and audio recording. The writing is very stylized and often sarcastic, making frequent references to pop culture. Some of these references may be too mature for younger teens -- either because of the adult content or because they're just too young to really know that Pamela Anderson is mostly "fictitious." The app includes numerous references to drinking alcohol, and a couple to sneaking out at night. Recordings are professional and often use accents to make them more memorable. Future updates may include in-app purchases to add more words.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
Thinking & Reasoning
- applying information
- identifying strengths and weaknesses
- academic development
Engagement, Approach, Support
Humor and pop-culture references along with professional voice-overs keep kids engaged. Variety in quiz types -- synonym, fill-in-the-blank, and complete the poem -- keep it fun.
Rhymes and mnemonic devices for each word provide depth of understanding that will transfer. Students are empowered to create playlists for specific word study and to rank words easy or difficult to create lists for further review.
Clear illustrations show how to use each screen when it's first encountered. Quiz scores are stored so students can see if they're improving.
What's it about?
From the navigation bar, teens can choose from Teach Me, Test Me, Playlist, Index, and Test Results. The index includes an alphabetical list of words with parts of speech, pronunciations, definitions, and mnemonic devices. Teens can mark words as easy, medium, or difficult. The playlist lets kids create a custom set of words from the full list. The Teach Me section includes the poems and mnemonics. In both the Teach Me and Test Me sections, teens can review or test all words, words they've marked as difficult, or a custom playlist.
Is it any good?
SAT Word Slam is very down-to-earth, and the author's voice comes through pretty clearly, opinions and all. The testing section is well-designed, and the teaching and index sections give teens various ways to learn the words with clever poems and mnemonics, as well as the ability to categorize and study words by difficulty. While the sassy references to Paris Hilton and O.J. Simpson make for memorable associations, they don't always provide the most precise idea of the meaning and correct use of the words. However, in terms of learning design, it would be hard to find an app that's better than SAT Word Slam for helping kids learn and remember challenging vocabulary.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Encourage your teen to use the SAT words in everyday conversation. Choose one word a week to focus on as a family, and make a point of using it.
Suggest to teens that they start a vocabulary journal. Along with the words and definitions, they can include original sentences and hand-drawn images to help them remember the meanings.