Apps for Vocabulary Acquisition

One of the most important aspect of English Language Learning is acquiring the vocabulary necessary to understand and speak the language. Unfortunately, vocabulary development is an ongoing process, and time, practice, and exposure are the best ways to develop vocabulary. Other than encouraging ELLs to continue practicing their speech aloud and interact with their peers, which can be crucial, teachers can also use technology to promote vocabulary acquisition. Specifically, the following iPad applications can be used as supplemental instruction tools during a differentiation time, or as recommendations to parents:

  • EnglishFirst High Flyers (2nd Edition) (link)
    • “The highly anticipated sequel to the #1 free education app in over 50 countries has arrived! Kids will master 1000 essential English words through hours of fun, engaging activities.”
    • Uses audio flash cards, colorful graphics, games, and different types of quizzes
    • Earn rewards through a star system and earning new characters
    • Free
    • provides more information on EnglishFirst
  • KidsVocab – MindSnacks (link)
    • KidsVocab uses games to promote understanding, rather than memorizing, new vocabulary words. Each lesson teaches spelling, usage, and pronunciation along with the words themselves based on a theme. The curriculum was based on common-core standards.
    • There are 9 different games to reduce repetition
    • Primarily for ages 7-12
    • There is frequent and immediate positive reinforcement, along with significant repetition and an engaging interface.
    • This application used to be free, but is now 1.99 for the full version (25 lessons).
  • Futuba (link)
    • 1-4 player game for kids
    • Primarily ages 4-8
    • Simple, fun way to learn English words -images come onto the playing area and players have to match the image to the word
    • Teachers can also create their own content and upload it to the app, if students need work with specific words
    • Competition can be fun and motivating, though it is important that pairs/groups aren’t imbalanced, making it less fun

Another list of apps can be found at This site gives a brief description of the app and its price.

Source (in addition to each app’s iTunes page): 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s