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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn challenging new vocabulary by studying the daily words and testing themselves with the quiz feature. The app provides many elements known to help teens expand vocabulary including visuals, audio, synonyms and antonyms, a paragraph for added context, and a quiz to check learning. Unfortunately, the app doesn't provide any way for teens to create sentences or illustrations, which would enable them to make deeper connections to the new words. Word A Day Visuals and Audios by VocabAhead exposes teens to challenging vocabulary words with plenty of context but would be more valuable if there were activities to apply the learning.
Ease of Play
Moving between words and the menu is very simple, as is listening to audio or a translation of the word. It is easy to learn new words with this app. A new word is available every day, and up to three more words can be viewed daily. The audio voices sound natural and pleasant. Words can be saved to a favorites list, a quiz feature gives kids a chance to review, and optional reminders can help you remember to learn.
Violence & Scariness
Some cartoons depict weapons or violence, but they are not animated or graphic. Explanations of some words, such as "abusive" and "masochist," discuss issues of violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Cartoons for words like "licentious" and "voluptuous" have cartoonishly curvy women in tight clothes. The contextualizing sentences for some words discuss romantic and sexual situations, e.g. the licentiousness of Roman orgies.
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The synonyms lists for the words can include some slang and vulgur language, for example, "p---y whipped" is listed as a synonym for uxorious. In addition, the contextual stories that explain each word often bring in issues that go beyond the definition. For example, one definition expresses surprise that a man would be so uxorious to a wife who "certainly wasn't attractive." Elsewhere, the causes and effects of abuse and abasement are discussed. In some places, these explanations also use uncommon or improper grammar. While the down-to-earth, casual tone might appeal to teens, it's surprising in a vocabulary tool.
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Products & Purchases
A link to VocabAhead's other apps appears on the main menu page, and some free versions promote a paid version of the app.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Occasional cartoons negatively portray smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Word A Day Visuals and Audios by VocabAhead will help their kids learn new vocabulary, but will raise some issues about mature social situations. Each word comes with a brief definition, a list of synonyms and antonyms, a cartoon, and a few sentences that use the word in context. The contextual sentences provided for each word sometimes include moral statements or ideas. It is an excellent app for parents and kids to use together, so they can discuss any questions raised by the definitions. Teens using the iOS version of the app can also log in to Facebook or share out the word on Twitter.
Is It Any Good?
The combination of words, pictures, audio, and contextualizing sentences make learning new vocabulary with WORD A DAY VISUALS AND AUDIOS BY VOCABAHEAD easy and fun. The audio tool helps with pronunciation, and the synonyms and antonyms lists help kids connect the word to existing vocabulary knowledge. There are several great features, like the favorites list, the ability to view up to four words per day, the quiz, and the reminder function. The word list is drawn from VocabAhead's other tools for SAT and GRE preparation, so there is a good mix of challenging words and familiar ones. The contextualizing sentences, though, are not very tightly written and sometimes make surprising, seemingly irrelevant statements about social behavior.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.