A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Free Dictionary by Farlex is packed full of vocabulary-related content, all on one busy page. The free version has banner ads at the bottom and embedded into entries with links, but these can be removed with a $1.99 in-app purchase. As with any good dictionary, definitions for sex, drugs, and curse words give useful, objective information, not dramatization or glorification. Users can post word entries to Facebook or Twitter or send them via SMS or email. Accessible in 14 languages, the definitions are taken from respected sources.
What's it about?
THE FREE DICTIONARY BY FARLEX features a black-and-white page full of content, from a word of the day to horoscopes, daily quotes, and lots of word games. The app pulls dictionary and encyclopedic content -- including legal, medical, financial -- from numerous respected sources such as McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, HarperCollins, the Farlex clip-art collection copyright Princeton University, and Wikipedia and provides citations for each search. The Customize button allows users to choose which of 12 main-page daily updates to include. It's a dictionary too. At the top, users type words into the text box for word searches or expand for advanced search options, bookmarks, settings (such as larger fonts), and sharing. It can be toggled into 14 of the most common world languages and translated for individual searches.
Is it any good?
The Free Dictionary by Farlex may be the most comprehensive, well-cited, fun, crammed-with-content dictionary app available in the app stores. Elementary school-age kids will want to play the games, and everyone will find something of interest in the daily updates (though they're written at the upper elementary school-age level). With the ability to customize daily content, change font size, access various languages, and access simple word games and cartoon graphics, The Free Dictionary by Farlex is engaging for kids of almost all ages. One downside is that the design is very busy, and some kids may find it overwhelming. Another is that the incessant ads are distracting, though that can be turned off with an in-app purchase. Overall, however, it's a great tool for learning on the go.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the benefits of using a dictionary when encountering new words. How is it helpful? Does it work better to stop in the middle of reading or wait until the end of a section to look up a word?
Play dictionary games. Choose a difficult word and send one player out. Have other players make up definitions and write them down, along with the correct definition. Have the player come back and guess the correct definition.
Discuss the possible meanings, origins, and connotations of words to get kids thinking about how language changes and has shades of meaning.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Chromebook, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Language & Reading: phonics, reading, reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: asking questions, investigation, part-whole relationships, thinking critically
Self-Direction: academic development, initiative, personal growth
Communication: asking questions, conveying messages effectively
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (Remove ads for $1.99 in-app purchase.)
- Release date: May 5, 2015
- Category: Reference
- Size: 19.20 MB
- Publisher: Farlex, Inc.
- Version: 6.2
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later; Android varies