Education Benefits of Wordsearches
While Wordsearches are fun and (usually!) relaxing to play, they're also a great educational tool!
Everyone knows that the more you read, the better you'll be not just at reading at speed, but also in increasing the breadth and confidence in your vocabulary.
Just by playing one of the Astraware SAT Wordsearches at the simplest level, you'll get some benefit right away - you'll see some words that you're not so familiar with, learn some new ones, and be reminded of the meanings of many that you hear regularly.
To take it a step further, here's how to get the very best out of our Vocabulary Wordsearches!
Passive exposure to words and learning is great - it's relaxing, and the Wordsearches in particular are non-threatening, there's no time limit, no flashing lights or sirens to warn you you're not going fast enough. Finding each word is a simple pleasure, and we reinforce that with a little sparkle of confetti and a sound effect. Complete the whole puzzle, and you've had a nice handful of words to play with for a while, and the reward of finding them all in the grid.
Not enough is made of the pleasure of taking your time and just enjoying something that isn't too difficult! You can call it a mildly educational reward for all of the really hard work you put in elsewhere in your busy life!
If you want to really improve your vocabulary permanently, and retain the words and their meanings, you have to engage just that bit more!
Research (and teaching experience!) shows that whenever you use and process something, your brain retains it far better than if you just pass along. The more parts of your brain you can involve in the task, the better!
Here are some of our recommendations for getting the most active improvement out of our Vocabulary wordsearches!
Say it out loud!
We recommend that a brilliant way to improve your vocabulary is when you find a word, say it out loud, and say the definition too. Yes - actually out loud! (Not so loud that you wake the whole street though!)
You'll get a few strange looks if you do this on the bus, and probably an occasional shush! at the library, so you might need to pick your spot!
If you struggle more with spelling than meanings, you may find that saying the spelling out loud also assists. Trace over the word in the grid with your finger and say the letters out loud.
This works because the part of your brain that you use for reading and processing images is not exactly the same part that you use for speech, though both make extensive use of the parts where you attach meanings to words. Words don't exist solely as abstract items in your brain, like they are in a computer database. They are constructed from sounds, meanings, constituent letters, the look of the word, associations with other words, even memories that are triggered by seeing them. The more you can link in different aspects, the better your memory will be!
Challenge your knowledge
Look at the words in the list, do you know what they all mean?
Pick a word that you know - look for it in the grid, but before you tap on it or loop the word, say what you think the meaning is. Then select the word, and look at the definition. Were you right? If the definition says it more concisely or elegantly than you did, can you improve on your meaning for next time? Great!
Challenge your vocabulary
Another way round to play the game is to use the Hint feature - tap on the 'Hint ?' button at the top of the screen, and it will sparkle a letter in the grid that's the start of a word.
Can you use that letter and look forward and back, up and down, along each diagonals, to see what the word is? If you think you've found the word - continue to look to see if it's actually the whole word. Did you spot BIRTH ? Look a bit further and you may be able to add to it and see that the whole word is BIRTHRIGHT. Do you know the meaning of both?
This is a different way round to use the game as it involves using your brain in a way that is opposite to how information is usually indexed. By engaging in a different way you reinforce the links.
Challenge your memory!
At the end of the game, you're looking at a completed game grid. Can you read each of the words? Can you say each of the meanings of the words? If you can remember them all, fantastic! If you can only remember some, then you'll know there are a couple to look for next time. Each of the words comes up more than once in the puzzles so you'll get more than one chance to see and use them! As everyone knows, practise (repetition!) makes perfect, and you'll get a better and better knowledge each time.
Use your skills!
There's no better way to thoroughly reinforce what you've learned than by making use of it. Context is everything! Just repeating out loud is great, but if you can find an opportunity in the day to use one of the new words you've come across, or a word which you've heard but never actually really known the meaning of before, then you'll be well on your way to having an expert vocabulary!
Be proud of what you've learned - a wide vocabulary is a wonderful thing, and it's never too late to boost yours!