Monday, February 7, 2011

VocabAhead SAT Vocabulary

Are you looking for a way to enhance linguistic acumen*? Know a student exhibiting histrionic* outbursts trying to study for the SAT? Has reading the dictionary become a banal* exercise and your student is now receptive* to other means of studying? Well look no further...introducing a fabulous tool to facilitate* learning:
Whether you are preparing for college entrance exams or just wanting to improve your language skills to further your career, VocabAhead can help you achieve your goals. This book is a multi-media package to help you on your journey.

The VocabAhead SAT Vocabulary book includes 300 of the most commonly tested words. The words are arranged in groups of 10 with a quiz following each unit (answers provided at back of book). Each page covers the following information:
  • part of speech
  • word used in sentence(s)
  • picture illustrating the definition
What makes this book truly unique from similar products on the market is the combination of written material with multi-media reinforcement available. By purchasing the book, you can access mp3 audio downloads and short videos of each word. The genius of the audio/video portion is that students will know how to correctly pronounce each word. Pronunciation is an area that I have to consciously work on with my kids. They are avid readers but don't always stop to look up pronunciations (which has provided some humorous memories).

Having both the audio and video aspects makes for a perfect complement to the book. Engaging sight and sound helps stamp the word more firmly into one's memory. It also means that whether you are a visual or auditory learner, VocabAhead has you covered.

Here's a sample of of the video clips:

Videos can be downloaded from the website and either viewed directly from your computer or can be loaded onto another video playing device (purchasers of the book will find instructions for downloading within the book).

The files are in alphabetical order but the words in the book are not. So if you are trying to synchronize the media with the book, the student will need to scan through the word files to find the appropriate words. It may be easier to just do the book and media things separately: first read through the book and take the quizzes and then keep the material fresh by listening to the audio files (while exercising, travelling or before bedtime are great times to do this).

Website Features
The website is worth visiting for all the great resources included there:
  • Word List with definition and part of speech
  • Study Room has some great features: watch videos, use flash cards, and take quizzes
  • Subscribe to Word of the Day videos by e-mail on their home page
  • Teachers can create personalized word lists for their students
  • View student videos of vocabulary words
Once you check out this book, I am confident you will vehemently* agree that it's a great resource! You can purchase your own copy for $12.95 HERE.

If you prefer a DVD, you can order the VocabAhead One Thousand SAT Vocabulary Videos & MP3s DVD here.

Our Experience
My younger son (7th grade) loaded the audio files onto his personal mp3 player. The initial download of the files takes a fair amount of time (if you have a slow internet connection, you may want to consider doing the download at a library with a faster connection). He would typically read through a unit in the book and then listen to the audio file and then take the quiz. Having words grouped in the same order as book would have been nice (and would have saved him time).

My tenth grader loaded the video files onto his iPod Touch. Later we realized we could have just downloaded the iPhone app from the VocabAhead website. You can get a free 50 word app, or pay for a 300 word app (the number of words in the book) or a 1000 word app. The apps enable you to take a quiz on a group of 20 words at a time. Very slick feature for tech-savvy teens.

Overall we enjoyed the product but have a few suggestions for making it even better:
  • Add written pronunciation in the book itself. [Note: we did encounter one word that was mispronounced in the audio files-(amiable)]
  • Arrange the words by chapter on the audio and video files to match the units within the book
  • Shorten the example sentences--some were extremely lengthy and hard to follow by audio

Hop on over to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog and read what other families thought of this product.

Contact Information

*words from VocabAhead--pick up your copy today!

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of VocabAhead SAT Vocabulary for the purpose of reviewing and sharing about our experiences. No other compensation was received.


Kyla said...

I'm not real sure how to get a hold of you, other than by leaving a comment, so here I am!! You had mentioned in a comment you left on my blog ( that you had a copy of The Way Home by Mary Pride. I would LOVE it if you'd read along and maybe even guest post. My weekly book posts will be under the "Momma School" tab. I really would love for you to join me!

Jill Stanish said...

Thanks for stopping by Kyla! I did find my copy of the book and will scramble to catch up :o) Hopefully some of my readers will join us!

Unknown said...

Jill, thanks for posting a great review on our book, and giving useful suggestions on improving it. We have already organized and made available a new file for download which has the videos and audios arranged in accordance with the units in the book. This was extremely valuable feedback and we thank you for it. Please send us a message if you would like to have the new link for the download. We have also planned to edit the words and will consider adding written pronunciations in the next version of our book. Thanks again!

Jill Stanish said...

I appreciate you letting me know about the updates on the audio files--what an incredibly responsive company you are! Blessings~

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