A low vocabulary will hurt your students across all language skills - reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Vocab Victor will build and strengthen their vocabulary. Assign this fun app in lieu of vocabulary lists, flashcards, and worksheets to give your students focused vocabulary instruction that will hold their attention.
Vocab Victor is constantly adapting. This makes the app beneficial for a range of students. Vocab Victor helps:
Do your English language learners make rapid strides in the first year, only to see their progress slow to a crawl at the second year and beyond? Vocab Victor is uniquely focused on intermediate-level vocabulary. The app helps get students beyond this plateau by selecting intermediate-level vocabulary words for your students. It introduces new words that are just a little bit harder than the words the student already knows. Adapting to your student’s level happens automatically from the very first game.
Students learn beginning words quickly because these are frequent words which are seen often, so they are easy to remember. In Vocab Victor, as soon as a learner starts seeing a new word, the word starts recurring. The learner sees the same word in different games, so they can build up knowledge for the word – different word associations, spelling (form), and meaning. The word is not considered “learned” until they have matched it correctly multiple times.
Linguist Paul Meara made numerous investigations into the mental lexicon. He found that given a word association task, native speakers tended to produce many associated words. In contrast, second language learners produced only a few. Vocab Victor builds more and stronger associations for the words your students already know, and teaches new words by associating them with existing, known words, helping students acquire native-like word networks. Furthermore, Victor teaches different types of knowledge, including synonyms, “type-of” relationships, collocations, derivations, multiple meanings and form-focused knowledge.
Your students should learn the words they need to succeed in English. Words at the perfect level. Words that are just a little harder than the words they already know. Our word lists let your students focus their studies on words at their exact learning zone.
Vocab Victor’s word lists were created by a team of linguists – vocabulary experts Dr. Charles Browne, Dr. Brent Culligan and Joseph Phillips – who spent years analyzing texts to select the most helpful words for learners. Dr. Browne’s team developed four lists – the New General Service List (NGSL) for beginner and intermediate learners, the New Academic Word List (NAWL) to help students succeed at the college level, the TOEIC list to help students prepare for the Test of English for International Communication®, and the Business Service List for students working in or studying for fields in business.
The Vocab Victor team has broken these into smaller lists of about 30 words each, which students can purchase inside the app. Word list words come up in Victor’s games until learned.
Ready to integrate Vocab Victor into you curriculum? The Vocab Victor Classroom App is our web-based teacher’s tool.
It lets you assign word lists to your students and monitor their progress!
Linguists are aware that “knowing” a word is actually a complex set of interconnected skills. Vocab Victor includes four different main games and one daily challenge game which each target a different word knowledge type. Every game is generated dynamically on our servers, so each game is different every time it’s played and customized for the individual student.
Vocab Victor’s core game is called Word Strike. In this word matching game, learners pick the word on the arrow which most closely matches the word on the target. The match may be a synonym, co-ordinate (same type of thing), or other close semantic associate (such as lava/volcano, drink/coffee). This game strengthens associations for the word. As students are learning a word, they may see it on Word Strike in different games with different matches. Word Strike is a timed game. If they get a word wrong, they will see the correct answer. If they don’t know the word, they can skip it.
Word Find is a classic word-search puzzle game. Each game is generated using a “key” or “seed” word which the student is currently learning. The puzzle words are all related to the seed word in some way, and are all hidden in the puzzle. Learners must find all hidden words to win.
This game serves two pedagogical purposes. First, it is a focus on form activity. Learners must think about the letters that spell the word in order to win. Second, it teaches passive associations by showing the words in clusters. Even if a student doesn’t know what a word means, they will know it has something to do with the seed word.
Vocabulary knowledge builds up over time, and studies show that students know more about words than they think they do. Word Drop presents learners with a simple, limited test: Does a given word relate more to this word, or that one? This sorting task encourages and rewards guessing. They might think, I’m not sure exactly what this word means, but I’m pretty sure it’s closer to this than that. If they get it right, their knowledge for the word builds!
When most people think about “what a word means,” they usually have in mind the dictionary definition. In Word Lock, players pick the word key that matches the given meaning. (All of our definitions are from the Merriam Webster Learner’s Dictionary so that they are understandable to learners.) If a word has more than one meaning, they might see different meanings for the word each time they see it in Word Lock.
Every day, Vocab Victor offers players a Daily Challenge game. This game focuses on common multi-word expressions, such as verb phrases. The Daily Challenge game is the same every day for all players, so you can use it as a focus for discussion it in your classroom.
At the end of the main games, the Word Review screen shows all the words that were in that game. Learners can tap to see the definition. This great feature helps learning because it shows the definition while the word has their attention.
All of our games include colorful graphics, fanciful thematic elements (such as a bird delivering mail), and their own original musical score. In addition, there are game elements that tie the individual games – and learning progress – together to motivate learners to keep playing.
Players win “charms” when they win games, level up, or rank up! Charms can in turn be used to purchase in-game boosters or hints, such as skipping a hard word. Charms can also be used to purchase word lists to focus on.
The main app screen is Victor’s Tower Library, which learners must help restore from a dragon attack! On each level of the tower are games that must be won before players can level up. Higher tower levels include hard game challenges, such as matching more words in less time. The longer they play, the more important it is for learners to study their words closely in order to meet the challenge!
Learners can visit the Progress Room to see which words they have learned, which words they are learning, and their progress for each word. As on the Word Review screen, players can tap on a word to see a learner-friendly definition.
Players are assigned a medieval-themed “rank” depending on how many words they have learned. Players start as peasants and increase their rank by learning more words. At the highest rank they’re a king or emperor!
Registered users can create a nickname to appear on our global Leaderboard! Use the power of competition to keep them motivated! Do you want to create a custom leaderboard for your class? Use our contact page to sign up to be the first to use our new Teacher’s Page! Monitor your students' progress and assign custom word lists!
Watch game creator Dr. Heidi Brumbaugh talk more about the pedagogical and linguistic framework of Vocab Victor.
A strong vocabulary is critical to language development. For native speakers, a strong vocabulary is a key predictor of academic success. The more words they know, the better they will be able to understand and learn material across all school subjects. Being a stronger reader and having better reading comprehension will lead to a positive cycle of even more vocabulary acquisition.
For non-native speakers, a strong vocabulary will help improve performance across four language skills:
Teachers and students want the same thing, but they go about it in different ways. What you (the teacher) think will be good for them may be different than what they want! My goal with introducing Vocab Victor was to meet the students where they learn, and to make the way they go about their language studies more interesting. I found that I would come in at break time and the students would be sitting there playing Vocab Victor, learning vocabulary. It has a great micro-learning potential. Students can do a quick game during break times or before class, on the bus or whenever.
I especially liked the ability to incorporate word lists and the “words learned” and “words seen” feature; I thought that this method of visible learning and scaffolding is quite motivating. I noticed that a few of the students really got into it, and I’m not sure if those are the same ones who really get into Candy Crush, for example, if they are just game play addicts from the start or if they were just really motivated to learn English vocabulary. As a teacher, it’s really gratifying to watch some of the students climb up the ranks and do really well.
I would recommend Vocab Victor, definitely. I’d recommend it to students as an extra vocabulary building tool, along with whatever other independent study resources and methods they already use. I think some teachers take language learning too seriously and forget that learning is meant to be fun and game-based learning is so natural. That’s a problem, they think it’s just a game and not learning per se, but that’s not what it’s about. We learn through games - they’re a fundamental building block of life. That’s how kids learn, through play. I’d say to a colleague, give it a go and see what you think. It might not be your cup of tea, but introduce it to your students and give them the autonomy to decide for themselves if they find it fun, motivating, and useful. Make sure those students are aware that it’s out there.
- Henno Kotzé, Senior Teacher: Ed-Tech, UQ Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education
At Vocab Victor we have one important motto: Make More Games! Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to hear about our latest releases! Our next game will be played using word translations in your learners' native languages.