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“Mom?  It’s your turn,” I hear from the other room.  Our 10-year-old has started playing Words with Friends.  We started it on our vacation last year because I knew that he would love it.  Today, I am working with Words with Friends and Words With Friends EDU to share a fun way to increase their vocabulary.


So, when I heard about it being used in the classroom, I knew that I had to look into it.  Most of you know that I was a teacher.  I’ve taught Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 5th grade.   I think that the greatest joy of teaching is watching your students grow.   I loved seeing them come up to me, with a paper that was written with interest, details, passion… when they would write about their favorite person or their favorite place to go.

When I taught, I had a bulletin board in my room that had the word “SPARKLY” written on it.  Every word on that bulletin board was covered in glitter.  Those sparkly words were detailed words.  Words like Red, Big, Beautiful, Amazing, Outstanding, Brilliant, Giant, Tiny…   words that described something.   Words that made a story better.    I found that when I asked my students to use at least one sparkly word per sentence, their stories came alive.

So, how do you teach students to do this?  With games.   Every day, in the afternoon, the kids had 20 minutes to play a game.  I had math games, reading games and word games.   Kids learn more by doing, so it makes sense that they would learn more after playing games like Words With Friends EDU.  After playing just six games of Words With Friends EDU, students show significant gains in their use of Academic Words. After playing just 15 games, students’ use of academic vocabulary increased by 55% and 24% of students who learn an academic word through the game go on to play that word correctly in future games. (you can download it here)


The game even gives definitions!

Getting started with Words With Friends EDU in your classroom is so easy ( I tried it out before sharing it with you).  All that I did was…

1). Create an account (here is a quick start guide)

2). Create a classroom (Add new classes, edit existing classes and reset students’ passwords.)

3). Invite your students using your class code. As they play, keep track of what they’re learning on your dashboard (The dashboard is where you see what your students are learning and where they need.)

There is also a forum to share your resources & tips with other teachers & parents.   Oh! And they have lesson plans that you can print.  (There are lesson plans for spelling words and sight words and more).

I let our kids challenge each other at home (and it would be great in the classroom)



Field study results show that, on average, students showed a significant increase in academic word use between the first game played and the best game played for each student within the first six games played.

I highly suggest playing it with your kids (there is no better way to teach your kids than by doing things with them). 🙂

To enter, you will need to sign up for a free account for Words with Friends (the student edition).

  1.  You just go here: and click STUDENT.  
  2. Enter the code  S37WG
It’s completely free.    Signing up enters you into the contest. 🙂


Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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