Climb – English Vocabulary

App review by
Ana Beltran, Common Sense Media
Climb – English Vocabulary App Poster Image
Expand vocabulary with engaging activities; best for teens.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Teens can improve their knowledge of vocabulary. They'll be able to explore words, pronunciation, definition, synonyms, antonyms, word origin, even definition in a different language. Practice feature allows users to apply what they've learned about vocabulary in a game-quiz format.  

Ease of Play

The app is a bit busy, but overall is simple to use and navigate. 

Violence

As with other reference tools, teens may come across words and images that reference or are associated with violence. 

Sex

Although one vocabulary list is dedicated to dating, the list highlights words that can be used to describe the activity, such as "awkward" or "taxing." As with other reference tools, teens may come across images, words, or definitions that reference sexy or mature content.

Language

Some vocabulary lists refer to slang and may include insults or words that could be considered offensive.  

Consumerism

Subscription required to continue using all the app's features after 7-day free trial. Most reference features are free, but practice portion requires subscription. Subscription duration options are 1 month, 3 months, and 12 months. The app references specific movies, TV shows, pop culture characters, and books.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Although one of the vocabulary lists is dedicated to wine, all the terms are highly technical. Teens may encounter images, words, and definitions that reference drinking, smoking, or drug use. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Climb – English Vocabulary allows users to explore and learn new words. The app offers two main functions. One, it allows users to explore new words, their definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and word origins. It also offers audio pronunciation, a link to Urban Dictionary, examples of the word used in sentences, and translation to a desired language. Two, it promotes learning through game-type quizzes where users have to apply their knowledge of learned vocabulary. The app offers vocabulary lists designed to help with studying for standardized tests such as the SAT and GRE. As with other reference resources, kids will come across words and images that reference mature content. Even though these content issues are mostly minor, the words and functionality of the app are best for early teens and older. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

CLIMB – ENGLISH VOCABULARY starts with a list of words that range in difficulty, asks users to tap on all the words they confidently know, and then creates a personalized word list. It also has several general vocabulary lists organized into 11 categories for users to explore, such as sports, wine and dine, day-to-day, and studying. When kids tap on a word, they see its definition, other key dictionary information, and a visual representation or GIF. The word analyzer shows users how challenging a word is in comparison to their vocabulary level and suggests similar words representing various difficulty levels. The practice feature is a sequence of prompts that ask users to identify definitions, identify meanings of words in sentences, and match words to GIFs. Additional features include a Google Translate option and a link to Urban Dictionary. A "word of the day" feature offers a related news article that allows users to see the word used in context. Users can create personalized lists using any words they see within the app. They can also use the app to look up words when reading in Safari.

Is it any good?

This engaging language tool, ideal for teens and adults, can be used as a study aid or as a fun way to expand vocabulary. Although Climb - English Vocabulary has quite a few features, the interface is user friendly and easy to navigate. It offers more than the typical dictionary by giving users a sense of the word in context through examples of the word in sentences and links to related news articles or pop culture references. The app integrates translation to any language and links to Urban Dictionary, making it an efficient and comprehensive tool. Users will appreciate the ability to look up words from text they read in a Safari web browser and then add the words to their in-app vocabulary lists. The app offers several vocabulary lists organized into fun and quirky categories, but it also allows users to create lists that focus on their personal needs and interests. By incorporating GIFs and finding inspiration in popular movies, TV shows, books, and slang, Climb – English Vocabulary keeps learners engaged. Folks looking for a study boost while preparing for standardized test such as the SAT, GRE, GMAT, or TOEFL will find this to be a useful tool. The practice component, which allows users to practice learned words by combining repetition, visual representations, definitions, and words in context, could be good preparation for such tests. Teens who use this tool to build their English language ability will find the word analyzer particularly useful since it compares words to their current vocabulary level and offers synonyms ranging in difficulty for additional reference and learning. A glaring hole in the app's design is the lack of a search function. Although there are lots of ways to list words, there are tons of words to explore, and finding a word on demand can require significant extra work and recall. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about different ways to take learning new words beyond the app when using Climb – English Vocabulary. Encourage using new vocabulary when speaking or writing, and find opportunities to express ideas in a variety of ways.

  • Talk about the importance of repetition and practice when learning something new. Can this app be a valuable resource for expanding vocabulary? How about a study aid when preparing for standardized tests?

  • Reading is a tried and true method for increasing vocabulary. Encourage your kids to read widely, including novels, nonfiction, newspapers, magazines, and more. 

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, spelling, vocabulary
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, memorization
    Creativity: combining knowledge
    Self-Direction: academic development, achieving goals, effort, personal growth, self-assessment
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (Limited content available for free. Subscribe for full access; subscriptions range from $9.99 to $59.99. 7-day free trial available.)
  • Release date: July 1, 2020
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 59.60 MB
  • Publisher: Climb Apps, LLC
  • Version: 1.6.5
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 12.0 or later
  • Last updated: September 3, 2020

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