Word Attack 3. (educational software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Karen Lee Siepak
When I was in school, I had to write vocabulary words and definitions over and over again to memorize them. Today, students can be spared that tedium by playing Word Attack 3, a fun vocabulary builder from Davidson and Associates.
Over 3200 words and definitions help students from fourth grade through college improve their vocabulary. Divided into seven categories, the word lists increase in difficulty by grade levels. The most advanced categories help students prepare for the SAT and learn Greek and Latin roots and prefixes.
Although the package focuses on five games, Word Attack 3's strength lies more in its ability to be an aid to teachers or parents. You can create custom word lists, not only in English, but also in Spanish, French, and German. Print out certificates, tests, crossword puzzles, flashcards, and word-search puzzles, saving yourself the hours it would take to create theses study aids manually. You can even keep track of your students' progress onscreen and print out cumulative records, helping you evaluate the class's progress.
Your sound card lets Word Attack 3 pronounce all the words used, so students learn to say the words as well as read them. Even your customized lists will be pronounced during gameplay--and you can alter pronunciation of your custom words if necessary.
Three of the games use static screens. In Presentation Activity, students unscramble words that match definitions and are used in sentences. Tile Game has them match definitions to words on overlapping tiles. Correct matches make the words disappear; to win, a player must clear the screen before time runs out. Crossword Puzzle is played just like the pen-and-paper game; it's the only game that will truly challenge the oldest students.
Maze Game and Hat Game are action games. Maze Game has the player move M.C. along series of platforms, eating words, treats, and bugs. Hat Game challenges players to fire M. C.'s wild hats--ranging from a Viking helmet to a Shriner's cap--through words whose definitions appear at the bottom of the screen.
Children in the lower grade levels will be challenged and entertained by all five of Word Attack 3's games. Older students, however, may not find them as engaging, primarily because the gameplay doesn't increase in difficulty as the word lists grow more advanced. If the action games would speed up, growing in tension as the word difficulty increased, even adults would be captivated by them.
Still, Word Attack 3 offers a lot for the money. It will save teachers time preparing tests and activity sheets, and students will spend hours having fun as they learn the meanings and usages of words. Word Attack 3 is a great way to learn new words, and it's a lot more fun than flashcards.
Davidson and Associates (800) 556-6141 $39.95
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