Having a rich vocabulary is the secret to being a better writer, to creating a fabulous first impression, or to conquering any reading test, including the SATs. And somehow little Becky Botsford, a 10½ year old from the planet Lexicon, has made studying vocabulary more enjoyable than most educators could ever do. Read on for quick tips and top sites to beef up any young student's word-stock with the help of this mild-mannered child, aka WordGirl.
Scholastic's live WordGirl Definition Competition/Webcast is just eight school days away. If you're not familiar with the young super hero, check out her interview with legendary anchor man Jim Lehrer, then scroll down below for eight super reasons to love her.
Check out Writing a Diary Entry in Persona
to get students writing impressive entries based on the WordGirl characters. For colossal 1st-grade fun, order a $15 WordGirl costume
writers can don as they share their journal entries with the rest of the class. On a tight budget? See Martha Stewart for superhero costumes
kids can easily make with you. If you are on a ridiculously tight budget (as most educators are . . . ) grab an old sheet and loosely pin it around a student's neck to form a cape. Let your superhero stand on a chair to proudly share her newly penned prose.
The super girl is now a super app! In WordGirl Word Hunt, kids must choose the right word to vanquish villains. Then users tilt their iPod Touch or iPhone up or down to make WordGirl zoom and fly across the room. My preschooler loves this game! Warning: the app requires newer software, iOS 4.3.
Becky has her own Facebook page
. The clever, yet underage Facebook user has tricked youngsters into casually defining new words, posting interesting oxymorons, and creatively describing her nemeses. If you have access to Facebook in your school, use her page as a guided morning warm-up exercise. If not, suggest this activity to families looking for enriching electronic activities as they wait for a conference with you, in the doctor's office, or at the supermarket checkout.
She is a computer lab favorite. Play PBS's vocabulary games
such as Power Words, Maze Mania, Huggy Dance, Captain Huggy Face's Freeze Frame! or Scholastic's Synonym Toast
. These games will keep kids happy and teachers and parents even happier.
She encourages cheating—sort of. Send kids who need a little help with WordGirl games or questions to WordGirl's dictionary
. Bookmark the reference tool so kids can easily review any robust word introduced on the show or the site.
She is not disturbed by a limited computer access. Download detailed instructions for Fishing for Names—Go Color!
and other vocabulary card games you can tailor for classroom literacy center(s). Use colored paper to print out WordGirl printables
—cryptograms, word scrambles, word finds, and crosswords—for literacy center bonuses. Download the WordGirl Create Your Own Story
from New Jersey Public Television and offer young writers/illustrators drawing paper and colored pencils.
Becky conquered the bully! Every mean girl needs to view "The Rise of Miss Power
," WordGirl's bullying episode starring Glee
's Jane Lynch. Check out PBS's Compliment Cards
for a great follow-up activity, and then plan to catch a kid in your classroom saying kind and thoughtful things. For your kindness heroes, play the WordGirl theme song
and let 'em dance around the room! (It works—1st and 2nd graders will do anything for a dance break!) For more great WordGirl videos, see PBS.org
Becky is prepared for the summer. Parents will love you for occupying their restless young passengers with travel games
like Road Trip Bingo and Team Storytelling. Add these WordGirl activities and bookmarks
to your summer homework packet to get kids amped for Scholastic's summer reading challenge