Early in the year, I posted a link to wordstash.com . I have been using it with several groups of my students in grades 4-8. I included this site in my list of helpful learning resources that I sent to my co-workers as their “Christmas present” and in a letter home to parents during parent-teacher conference time. I know a few families have used it at home, even in subjects that they do not see me for (particularly science vocabulary).
For my 4th graders that struggle with reading comprehension and fluency, I use vocabulary units from Ed Helper to create “vocabulary jars” and do various activities with them from analogies to reading the words in context, to challenging them to use it in conversation at home. When I introduce new words, we look them up on wordstash.com. Often the options to see the words used in an article gets them interested in the word, and helps them use the word in a sentence of their own.
I also encourage them to use this when they come across a word in their reading at home that they do not know or cannot figure out how to pronounce. This site will say the word for them, and since they already like the site, they are more likely to use it to look up a word instead of continuing to read without understanding.
By building their vocabulary, I have noticed that their ability to use context cues along with decoding skills when they try to read an unknown word has improved. With more words to pull from, their accuracy improves.
How do you / would you use this site with your students?