Being a gentleman of Southern persuasion (only a few miles south of the Mason-Dixon line, but why bother with details?), I’ve picked up some bad linguistic habits. I’m not trying to say that everyone in the South speaks poorly, but more than the occasional verbal faux pas can be heard in and around my town.
For those of us who do not know excrement from a brand of shoe polish, especially students studying for the ACT, SAT, or GRE, makes for an invaluable tool to practice your vocabulary.
Before you sign up, you may indicate which test you are studying for, if any, and then challenge yourself with a quick quiz on the meanings of certain words. VerbaLearn automatically starts building up your first word list based on incorrect answers or answers which you indicate were just guesses. Once you get about ten words in, you’re ready to sign up (it’s free) and continue your first course. The initial course is made up of 50 words however you will be dealing with 10-20 words at a time, depending on an account option you choose.
Once you have built a list, you can take vocabulary quiz with fill-in-the-blank questions as well as definitions. Many of these questions will be repeated until the system is sure that you have a particular word down correctly. Once you have mastered some words, you will be encouraged to build another study list. Whether or not you get a quiz question correct, you may review the correct answer anytime.
If you prefer to learn by listening, you may download a generated MP3 file with the study list on which you need to work. This can be a direct download or, for folks on the go, via a podcast feed.
As I’m sure you can see from the screenshot below, I still have plenty of words to work on. The basic VerbaLearn service is free for all. If I was a student, my parents or another sponsor could add money to my VerbaLearn2Earn account, giving me a “cash card” which could be loaded with a small amount for each word I successfully learn. There’s no better incentive than cash; I think I just may try this on my own son.
What are your favorite sites for free learning? What kind of incentives work for the kids in your life? Please let us know in the comments.