Have you ever wanted to find a word in the dictionary but you…. surprisingly… can’t find the right word? Have you ever thought: “Gee it would be nice to be able to find a word by the definition”? I have some good news that can hopefully easy some of that painful feeling you get when you want to remember the perfect word for the situation. It’s called a reverse dictionary. Here’s how it works:

1) You type in words that might be in the definition of the word. For example, try making a question you would typically ask to your teacher. Like this: “Is there a word for someone who is afraid of technology”?

2) Then you can isolate the “key” words from that sentence (in this case, “technology” and “afraid”) and put them into the reverse dictionary. Here are the results of searching one reverse dictionary for these terms.

3) Look through the results to find the word you were looking for, or to find a new better word. You can also try to rearange the order of your search words. This can help sometimes. If you click on the link in the last paragraph, you can find the suggested words for “afraid” and “technology”. You can see the first on the list is “technophobia”. That’s the word I was looking for, however you can also see that the third suggestion is “cyberphobia”. Oh great.. that’s my new favorite word! I can click on the word to see how many online dictionaries have this word, then I can choose a dictionary to give me the definition. I like Dictionary.com because it gives me related words at the bottom, very clearly. Here is the definition for my new favorite word!

Here is a link to the best reverse dictionary in my opinion, however do an internet search for reverse dictionary yourself to see if you can find a better one!

Here is a new Recent News Lesson Plan with audio Mp3 file.  Hope you enjoy this one as well.  The Audio file has little extra news bits at the beginning for your interest and to help you with listening.  I try to go slow, but let me know if you have any suggestions about my reading speed.

US Withdrawing 12,000 troops from Iraq

Audio Mp3

Here is another interesting website to help hone your vocabulary and donate food to help end world hunger.  The food is donated through the UN world hunger program.  It is quite interesting and addictive.  I scored 100% so far.  There is no time limit, so you can take your time.  You can also choose to only be tested on vocabulary from one specific subject by clicking on subject list.  You don’t have to join or get a membership.  Just go to the website, start answering questions, and watch the rice bowl fill up.  I think this is the BEST website I have ever seen for practicing your vocabulary.  The quiz will automatically adjust depending on your skill level.  If you get answers wrong, it will become easier.  If you get them correct it will get more difficult.  That’s so cool.  There are 60 levels to the vocabulary quiz, and I have only made it to level 36 so far.  This is truly a case of the teacher becoming the student!  Don’t get discouraged.  I think that getting to level 4 or 5 is fantastic accomplishment for an ESL student.  I also suggest clicking on the “settings” tab at the top and changing the option.  Then you can keep track of your donations and it will not reset every time you go back to the website.  So far I have donated about 3000 grains of rice!!  Please brag to me about your top level and how much rice you can donate to help end hunger!


The subject list

Below the question you can see a menu that looks like the one below.  From here you can manually change your level.  I suggest starting at level 1, and working your way up.  You see your highest level, and restart the quiz.  It seems like this quiz is truly inexhaustible.   That means there are so many words that you will never see them all.