How It Works

A vocabulary portfolio is automatically generated. It travels with the student from K-12. Students can do the wordDIGS again and again, even taking notes and repeating them. There is no way to cheat, only ways to learn. Students grow unafraid, confident, and enjoy climbing the scoreboards.


  1. A student chooses a short passage to read by clicking on a thumbnail illustration.
  2. A student reads the passage and notices that some words are boldfaced.
  3. By clicking on a boldfaced word, the student begins a wordDIG. Every wordDIG gives a student-friendly explanation of the word, teaches the student about the word in other contexts, and asks three easy questions so that the student feels smart and supported.
  4. The questions are playful, encouraging, and move beyond the original context.
  5. Students can do the wordDIGS again and again, even taking notes. There is no way to cheat, only ways to learn and feel good about learning. In this way, students grow unafraid, confident, and enjoy climbing the scoreboards.
  6. Individual data on each student's data page encourages students to "collect" all 400 words.
  7. Friendly messages encourage students to meet small goals.
  8. With clear monthly and annual goals that consistently teach vocabulary across the curriculum, students will become increasingly prepared for college and the workplace.
  9. A vocabulary portfolio automatically. It travels with the student from K-12.
  10. Submitting original writing to my400words and seeing it published encourages students to actively use the new vocabulary and take pride in their work.

Data & Awareness

Cheating is impossible. Students may collaborate, refer to online or offline resources, and repeat the same wordDIG after taking notes. Using my400words increases learning opportunities.



  1. Students aim to learn 400 words a year. 40 words a month for 10 months is recommended. Having this clear goal leads students to recognize the importance of vocabulary acquisition.
  2. Students become very aware of types of words since they explicitly collect everyday words, academic words, and domain-specific words. Discussion about how to classify words is a great way to deepen their understanding. Opinions may vary.
  3. Simply using my400words means learning happens.
  4. Students build a persaonal online "word wall" which is complete when 400 words have been learned. This visual is inspiring.
  5. Teachers can create teams within the classroom that generate their own scoreboards.


my400words - Methodology

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"A robust approach to vocabulary involves directly explaining the meaning of words along with thought-provoking, playful, and interactive follow-up. Students must read widely enough to encounter a substantial number of unknown words. We believe that learning about 400 words per year would result in improvements in word knowledge and in comprehension..."

Beck, McKeown, and Kucan - Bringing Words to Life