Sunday, 18 November 2007

Test Your English and Feed The World

FreeRice is the invention of US online fundraising pioneer John Breen. The FreeRice game is at and tests the vocabulary of participants. For each click on a correct answer, the website donates money to buy 10 grains of rice for the developing world.

Companies advertising on the website provide the money to the WFP to buy and distribute the rice. FreeRice went online in early October and has now raised 1bn grains of rice, which is enough rice to feed 50,000 people for one day.

How does playing the vocabulary game at FreeRice can help your students?

· Formulate ideas better
· Write better papers, emails and business letters
· Speak more precisely and persuasively
· Understand what you read in more details
· Read faster because you understand better
· Get better grades in all subjects, as good literacy is essential across the curriculum
· Perform better at job interviews

The website even claims: “After you have done FreeRice for a couple of days, you may notice an odd phenomenon. Words that you have never consciously used before will begin to pop into your head while you are speaking or writing. You will feel yourself using and knowing more words.”

How does the FreeRice vocabulary program work?

FreeRice has a database containing thousands of words at varying degrees of difficulty. There are words appropriate for people just learning English and words that will even challenge academics.

FreeRice automatically adjusts to your level of vocabulary. It starts by giving you words at different levels of difficulty and then, based on how you do, assigns you an approximate starting level. You then determine a more exact level for yourself as you play. When you get a word wrong, you go to an easier level. When you get three words in a row right, you go to a harder level. This one-to-three ratio is best for keeping you at the “outer fringe” of your vocabulary, where learning can take place.

This certainly is a different way to develop literacy skills and the international dimension…

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