Video: Why vocabulary matters

Video: Who uses it

Video: What people say
Rewards and prizes!

Spelling BeeEvery year around this time the Spelling Bee hopefuls are buzzing around the LearnThatWord hive... and for good reason:
We are the most comprehensive Spelling Bee program around, with a spelling bee module that offers over 25,000 typical Spelling Bee words, sorted by frequency and difficulty.

In addition, parents and teachers are eagerly adding 2015 Spelling Bee word lists to our archive!
Come take a look here:
Word list results for Spelling Bee 2015

If you like a list, you can add it to your account and we will focus on those words with priority.

Remember, if you add a lot of words to your account, make sure that "practice words, then priority words" is selected in your preference settings.
Otherwise, you'll keep going through new Spelling Bee words but miss out on practicing those that need more review. This review of Spelling Bee words that you find difficult, however, is where the real learning happens that will prepare you for your big moment on stage!

Posted by Rosevita Warda in fun with English, memory, spelling bee. | Leave a comment |

Stairs of to doWe all have been on the different steps of these stairs... 
This little animation from our partners at Grammarly never fails to inspire!

Posted by Rosevita Warda in Uncategorized. | Leave a comment |


This graphic was found on Pinterest without authorship notice. Not sure where the meme originated.

If you're an English language learner, then this is driving you crazy.
Even native speakers are thrown off occasionally either spelling or pronouncing the "ough"-words.
No easy solutions, like with many irregularities -- just got to learn it!


Posted by Rosevita Warda in Uncategorized. | 1 Comment |

Webinar? I thought you said Wine bar!Three years ago we first launched our tutor partner program. Recently we collected experiences and best practices into a short webinar. Are you a tutor, helping students build their vocabulary? Contact us for your invitation, or sign up for your partner account!

The webinar provides an easy demo of partner insights and essential LearnThatWord features. The webinar is just 30 min long. Since it's a replay, you can fast forward or rewind as needed.

The first 20 min focus on partner tips, the last 10 min. on core LearnThatWord features. If any questions remain after this info session, just click live chat on our site for instant help.

Posted by Rosevita Warda in Uncategorized. | Leave a comment |

All three quizzes now use mobile-ready html5 and are integrated with our Open English Dictionary, for an improved answer page and user experience. The format has been condensed and the tab key functionality expanded. This means, it is now easier to navigate the quiz, even on tablets or smart phones.

For us, this is also the first step for creating LearnThat apps.

The biggest changes happened in the vocabulary quiz.
Here, we moved away from the multiple choice format, and to a format that is closer to the combo format.
It requires a more active knowledge of the word, and more creative effort on behalf of the user--both crucial parts of language learning.
It is more interesting and more challenging than the former pick-and-click multiple choice format, but still doesn't require the user to spell the word letter by letter.

Watch our short intro here:
New vocabulary quiz

Posted by Rosevita Warda in dictionary, LearnThatWord, technology, Uncategorized, web development. | Leave a comment |

Illustration typing vs. handwriting

"What's lost as handwriting fades?" asks a NYT article. Apparently, more than anticipated by those who assume that handwriting should no longer be taught in school.

Neuroscientist now provide some clues as to why handwriting seems to influence learning in such a powerful way.

“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain.

Posted by Rosevita Warda in education, how to learn, learn English, literacy, memory, practice, self-development, teachers, technology, your brain. | 1 Comment |

Child attempting to fly with homemade wings[...] All humans, short of being afflicted with certain types of organic damage, are born with an astounding capacity to learn, both in the amount that can be learned in one domain and in the variety and range of what can be learned. Children, unless stifled in some way, are usually virtuosos as learners. 

Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles concepts and evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9(3), 105–119.

Seems to me that if we just stayed true to this promise, and stopped micromanaging and polluting and disrespecting our children's minds, a lot of the problems we struggle with today would disappear.

Posted by Rosevita Warda in education, how to learn, memory, self-development, your brain. | 2 Comments |

One of our members, Steve Mitchell, shared this delightful quote with us:

It is often forgotten that [dictionaries] are artificial repositories, put together well after the languages they 

define.   The roots of language are irrational and of a magical nature." 
      -- Jorge Luis Borges, Prologue to "El otro, el mismo."

What a perfect way to say it!

Posted by Rosevita Warda in English, fun with English. | Leave a comment |

Autocorrect has become my worst enema
Posted by Rosevita Warda in fun with English, spelling, technology. | Leave a comment |

The biggest talent of your brain is forgettingLearning, it could seem, would be much easier, if the brain was designed like a computer:

A system that catalogs information, stores it, and allows easy on-demand retrieval.

Anyone trying to understand how the brain works does well to keep in mind -- and ultimately, to appreciate -- that the brain is not designed to be a hard drive, a simple data storage.

Its mechanisms are infinitely more complex and more sophisticated.

Its biggest accomplishment is not information storage, but its ability to forget selectively and intelligently; to select from the steady stream of information that which serves our survival and helps us live better with less effort.

Our brain doesn’t forget because it’s flawed or lacking capacity. Forgetting, instead, is an active and highly intelligent process during which the brain determines what is of enough value to be kept for easy retrieval, while saving precious energy on anything that doesn’t qualify for “top of mind” status.

In a world of continuous input, forgetting is much more important to our wellbeing than memory, so the brain’s main purpose is to forget -- effectively and selectively.

Forgetting simply means one thing: That the brain does not yet (or no longer) see evidence that the item is important.

Numerous studies in memory theory have proven, though, that learning that took place is not erased, and that forgetting is not a permanent “fading away.”

Instead, the learning item is simply less accessible if the retrieval paths to the information have not been reactivated and thereby enforced. Ultimately the brain is evaluating every bit of information to see what is relevant for our survival and well-being. This is why certain types of learning hardly need any reinforcement (“Touching the hot stove hurts.” - “The candy jar is over there”), while other learning processes - like learning vocabulary - need continuous reinforcement and practice.

It can be hypothesized that practice cycles work so well because they remind the brain that a certain word is important, although the brain may not yet have experienced for itself how knowing this word will add value. Continuous practice spaced out over time, enforces the retrieval path again and again, especially when paired with testing, until the brain infers that the item is important and eventually wires it into automaticity.

The value of memorization
A common objective to the concept of practice is that memorizing is a waste of time, since knowledge today is just a click away. The lure of such a premise is obvious, yet it ignores that critical thinking and creativity, so highly treasured as “21st century skills,” can arise only on a rich foundation of internal knowledge, which must include factual knowledge like vocabulary, mental arithmetic, as well as broader contextual understanding. Without these building blocks of tangible knowledge no castles of higher order thinking may be erected.

Some have also pointed out that memorization is a powerful trigger of the “rage to master” {Winner, 1998}, transcending the mere collection of knowledge in favor of a mental structure upon which new thoughts and a passion for knowledge can develop.

The argument that memorization wastes the learner’s time is even more disturbing, because it arises from a premise of scarcity: It assumes that the brain’s resources could be "wasted" on irrelevant knowledge; that our brains’ resources have to be micromanaged and rationed to save mental resources for genius.

Fortunately, the materialistic perception that there is a finite supply of mental resources, and that the more you spend, the less you'll have, is false.

Pursuit of knowledge follows a completely different paradigm that runs counter to materialistic principles. Learning, luckily, follows the same paradigm that applies to love and happiness: The more we give, the more we gain.

Our mental resources are strengthened and expanded by challenging them, and the only way to diminish the vast power of our brain is by leaving it unused or under-challenged.

The brain is not a muscle, but it responds in the same way to exercise.

Posted by Rosevita Warda in education, how to learn, LearnThatWord, practice, self-development, your brain. | Leave a comment |