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Monday, February 7, 2011

TOS Review: VocabAhead

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To be successful on SAT, ACT, or preparing for college, good vocabulary is very important. It isn't always easy learning and remembering new words, nor is it usually a fun process. VocabAhead Sat Vocabulary Cartoons, videos, and MP3s are " The entertaining and effortless Vocabulary building solution."


There are two products available from VocabAhead to help build your child's SAT/ACT Vocabulary: DVD Rom ($24.99 from Amazon.com) containing 1000 SAT Videos and MP3s and a 342 page paperback book ($12.95 from Amazon.com) containing over 300 difficult vocabulary words. I received the paperback book for this review.

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VocabAhead has created their products with the full brain learning process in mind. The book contains a cartoon illustration and a text script providing examples of the specific word on the page. This creates a visual connection for your brain for understanding and recall. Also, to go with each word you can download (for free with the purchase of the book) MP3 files so you can listen to the words that you viewed. Additionally, all of the words in the book are accompanied by short videos with the illustrations that you can watch on your computer (also downloaded for free.) There also is an App you can download to your iPod Touch, iPhone, or Ipad through iTunes to view the videos. By reading the words, listening to them, and watching them it strengthens your mental connections with the word and helps you to develop your understanding. The more you understand the words the easier it is to remember and use it properly.



The book, videos, and mp3s are all designed to work together and make continuous learning possible by fitting it into your daily schedule. They suggest you work on one chapter (10 words) daily using at least 2 of the 3 modules (book, mp3s, videos.) After you have practiced the words in the chapter, there is a review section at the end of the chapter to check what you have learned.



There are also some great features available on the VocabAhead website. On the home page you can sign up to get an email of the Word of the Day. There is also access to a Study Room, place to view Vocabulary Videos, and see Word Lists. There also is a section for how Teachers can use VocabAhead in their classrooms.

I think the idea behind VocabAhead is a good one. By reading the words, listening to the words and definitions and watching the videos it should help cement the meanings to the words into your head and make it easier to remember. By making the videos available on the computer and various iPod devices you are opening up the ability to have access to the videos to a wider range of people. It is also very easy for your teen to be able to work with and use on their own. I also like that there is a review at the end of each chapter. Using the book gives you access to learning new words whenever you want and where ever you go withou the need for Internet acess, a computer, or other device.

I do have some concerns however. Each page has the word, it's part of speech, definition, cartoon, sentences describing the word, and synonyms and antonyms. The pronunciation is not included in the book, although you can hear the correct pronunciation if you listen to the videos or mp3's. To download the videos to the computer or iPod takes a lot of storage space. Although the cartoons are meant to be humorous, I found a few of the them to be inappropriate and not something I would want my child picturing when they are trying to recall a word. For instance, the cartoon of the word, "Dichotomy" which shows a son beside his messy, unkept, overweight father who has a sign next to him saying "Cleanliness is next to Godliness." The three examples are ones that show Timmy being very disrespectful to his father. "Young Timmy noticed the dichotomy between his father's belief that "cleanliness is next to Godliness" and his actually sloppy, messy appearance. Another one was the word "libel" where the headline reads , "Pop Star is a Druggie!" These kind of things might not bother some people but I just felt there should be a better way to portray the words.

To see what other crew members are saying click here.

I recieved a complimentary copy of VocabAhead for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.

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