better vocabulary learning

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What is this site for?

This site attempts to speed up the process of learning new vocabulary by quickly making vocabulary learning activities for unknown words from any text. It focuses on teaching the most common words in English. Specifically, these words come from the General Service List and the Academic Word List

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How do I use the New Articles page?

You can use articles three ways. First, you can copy and paste lists of words or text. Four or five paragraphs is a good length; longer texts may have too many unique words to manage. You can also select articles from a selection of news feeds. Finally, if you are registered in a class, you can use articles your teacher has shared.

After entering or choosing an article, you will see the words from your article in a table. The left column shows the most common words. Start here and click on any words you don't know. Then move right one column and do the same. After you click a word it turns red every time it appears on the page. It is also possible to sort the words in each list alphabetically and by number of occurences in the text.

You can also see your article in paragraph form by clicking 'in a paragraph' at the top. The colored words are used frequently in English. You can remove all coloring and select the words to be shown by list.

The gray words are less common words that you will probably only see when you are reading about certain subjects, like words for talking about football, computers, or cooking. These cannot be saved and you will have to keep track of these words yourself. Google Docs is a good way to keep track of these less common words.

When you have clicked all the colored words you don't know, click the 'Save Article and Words' button. You can now check your saved articles or start studying your new words.

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How do I use the My Articles page?

The My Articles page lets you manage the articles and new words you saved using the New Articles page. When you select an article, you will see the new words you selected and their translation. These translations haven't been checked by a human, so you may find it necessary to change a translation or add additional Arabic words for other meanings. Please make changes by clicking the edit button next to the word and then clicking update to save your changes. These changes will be visible to everyone using the site, so please be careful.

Below the table there is link to the original website (if you entered the URL before) and the original article text. The new words you selected are highlighted in dark red. There is also a delete button which deletes the article from the list.

You can also download your word lists in Excel or Word files by clicking on the buttons at the top.

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How do I use the Learn page?

This is the page where it all pays off. At there top there is a dropdown list where you can select one of your saved articles. After you select an article, click on one of the learning activities: flashcards, listen and spell, translate and spell or fill in the blank.

The flash cards start by giving you the new word in English. First, click on the speaker to hear how to say the word. Then try to think of the mearning in Arabic, and click on the green tick to see if you're correct. After reviewing the flashcards, try the listen and spell activity. Click on the speaker to hear the word and then type in the correct spelling. You can click submit to check your answers. Next, you can translate the the Arabic word into English and check your translation. Finally, you can try to add the correct words to the originial article. Click 'See Words' to see your word list or hide it. You can also make the text boxes bigger or smaller. The correct words are highlighted in green and incorrect words are shown in red. Note: capitalization is not checked in this exercise.

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Does each user have to add his or her own translations?

No. The translations come from a shared database. After you change a translation, it is saved and will be available for you and all other users in the future.

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How do I update my password or email?

After you log in, click the account link at the top of the page. You will be taken to a page with links for updating your account information.

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Do you plan to add translations for more languages?

Yes. The site currently offers Spanish and Arabic. Please request other languages that you would like.

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What other features do you plan to add?

In addition to the current features, I plan to add the following functionality to the site:

  1. An email or SMS generator that will send the student words from a list in “flash card” messages at various intervals throughout the day.
  2. Additional vocabulary games such as a crossword puzzle generator and image-based games

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How can I study "off list" words?

You'll notice that some words can't be saved. These words are less common words that don't appear on the General Service List and the Academic Word List. Normally these words are proper nouns, topic-specific words or acronyms.

One good strategy is to read many different articles about one topic. This way, these less common words will be seen more frequently. In this case, it's a good idea to keep track of these words and study them because you will need to know them to understand what you read.

One tool for keeping a vocabulary notebook online is Google Docs. If you have a Google account you already have access to this, otherwise you'll need to sign up for an account. Using the spreadsheets in Google Docs is similar to Excel, but if you've never used it before here is a quick overview

Two features that I want to let you know about are the automatic translation function and the generate flash cards feature.

It's easy to use Google translate in a spreadsheet.

Here's a preview of the flashcards in action and a tutorial on how to set them up.

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How can teachers use this site with classes?

When you create a vocabkitchen.com account, you have two options: student or teacher. A teacher account has all the features of a student account plus it give access to the 'my classes' link at the top of the page.

The My Classes page has lots of features for teachers that make it easy to get your classes using the site. It is organized in three sections: Manage Classes, Manage Learning and Manage Articles.

Manage Classes

To get started, click on Manage Classes and click on Create a New Class. Type your class name in the box and create the class. Next, add students to the class. You can register existing users by entering their username. If the student doesn't already have an account, vocabkitchen creates a new user account automatically and sends an email to the student with registration details. To register a student who doesn't have a vocabkitchen.com account, you must know his or her username and email address. Note: the username is used to log in to the site, but the full name is used to keep track of student work. You can also add all your students at once by uploading an Excel spreadsheet. Finally, there are two additional sub-sections for removing students from classes and deleting entire classes.

Manage Learning

The second section, Manage Learning, lets teachers view words that students are learning three ways: by student, by class and by article.

New Words by Student lets teachers view students' vocabulary lists. Select a class and a student from that class and you will be able to pull up that student's saved articles. You can then view the new words that student selected from the article and save his or her list as a Word or Excel file. You can use these lists to create additional personalized vocabulary lessons in class.

New Words by Class shows the unknown words that were selected by all students in a class from all their saved articles and the number of times each word was selected. This word list would be useful for periodic in class vocabulary review games and activities.

New Words by Article shows the unknown words selected by all students that saved an article shared by a teacher. This list will let you target the specific unknown words selected by your students for a given reading. Note: this data will only be available for articles and words that students saved after April 17th, 2012. To get this information for articles that you shared with classes before this date, students should delete their old copy of the article from the My Articles page, access it again on the New Article page, click new any words and re-save.

Manage Articles

The third section, Manage Articles, is where teachers can upload text to share with a class and associate those articles with classes they have already created. The Manage Articles section lets you add a title, a link (source) if available, and the body of the text. You can also delete articles on this page. The Share Articles section lets you share a saved article with multiple classes and remove their share status.

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How can I stay focused while working on a computer?

Although you can learn almost anything online, it is possible for the Internet to make you less productive. Most people have a list of 4 or 5 websites that account for most of their web surfing.

If you really need to get something done, the best thing you can do is to BLOCK these websites from yourself.

Here's a great way to do that. Adding these lines to your hosts file on your work or school laptop will help you always be ready and have that novel you've been meaning to write finished in no time. www.facebook.com www.youtube.com

Even though it's possible for you to unblock them anytime you want by removing those lines, this takes about 8 mouse clicks, and I've found that this is just enough to stop myself from habitually checking certain sites. The idea is to make working easier than procrastinating.

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I want to use a hard copy of a text with your site. Do I have to type everything?

Not necessarily. Some versions of Adobe Acrobat will convert scanned .pdf files into text you can copy and paste. Try scanning a page of your textbook into a .pdf file. Open the file with Adobe Reader and click Document -> OCR Text Recognition -> Recognize Text Using OCR.

You should now be able to copy and paste the text in the New Article page and create vocabulary activities.

Adobe reference on using OCR

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Why can't I save words or why do the menus look funny?

First, you must have javascript enabled in your browser to save words and for some of the site to display correctly. Unless you remember disabling javascript, it is more likely that the javascript files did not download correctly. Try pressing ctrl + F5 (or F5 in Opera) to refresh the files. Pressing ctrl + r twice may be necessary in Chrome.

If that doesn't fix it, please tell me.

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Which words do you use on the site?

The words come from the General Service List and the Academic Word List. On the New Article page, the GSL 1 search results show the first 1,000 words on the General Service List, the GSL 2 list shows the second 1,000 words on the General Service List, and the AWL list shows words from the Academic Word List.

I'm currently looking at the differences between the Oxford 3000 list and the GSL.

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Why can't I hear any sound?

First, check your volume and make sure your sound is not muted. You can also try clicking ctrl+F5.

If you still have no sound, you can send me some information to help me find the problem.

Open this page, copy the words that show up, and email them to me. If no words show up and there is only a button let me know that, too. Also, let me know if you were able to play the test sound on that page and what browser you are using.

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