Word Search Uses in Education
How are you today? This week’s Education Blog post is featuring word searches. Word searches are a source of fun for many people. It is sometimes enjoyable to go through a grid of letters trying to find various words. Some can be quite easy, while other word searches can be quite difficult.
However, word searches don’t just have entertainment value. They also have educational value. Word searches can be used in various ways to improve educational skills. You may have even used word searches in your lessons before.
One of the most recognized uses for word searches is to reinforce correct spelling words. Word searches are often used as part of spelling lessons. When a student looks at a word multiple times in order to find it and ensure that it is the correct word found, it helps him or her remember the correct spelling of the word. Another strategy to further help the memory of correct spelling is to encourage the student to read the word and spell the word each time that he or she looks at the word, while looking for it in the word search. (For example, if looking for the word plant, he or she can look at the word and say, “Plant. P-l-a-n-t.” Then, he or she can look at the word search. Let’s say the student finds a P-L-A-O in the puzzle, he or she can check it against the word plant and find that it is incorrect. Since the student checked it against the word, he or she can repeat with the saying of the word and spelling it, “Plant. P-l-a-n-t.” Of course, the words and spellings are said silently, if possible.)
A second use for word searches is to reinforce vocabulary words. This is particularly so for the vocabulary words of themed lessons. For example, if one is studying a space theme, the names of the planets, as well as words such as asteroids, meteors, and orbit can be some of the word search words. In that way, the student gets reminded of and more familiar with these words.
Another use for word searches can be to learn strategy. I know this may sound strange, however, one can be taught or simply learn strategy through word searches. For example, just glancing at the puzzle and hoping to find a word is less effective than say starting at the top left hand corner and looking at each letter until you find a P while looking for the word plant. One could also ask the student to explain his or her word search strategy, which would lead to not only helping others learn, but also helping the student get better at speaking and presenting explanations.
I make my word searches by using a word processing program and a photo-editing program. I make my word list ahead of time. I decide how many words I want in the word search and how difficult I want it to be. I create a table within the word processing program for the size of puzzle I want. Then, I add the words into the puzzle, one letter per square. Afterwards, I add random letters in all the other boxes, around the words. Then, I add the words in a word bank on the bottom of the page. Lastly, I copy and paste all of that into the photo editing program and erase all the squares around the letters.
I realize that you may not have the time, knowledge, or resources to create your own word searches. Yes, there are some online programs where you can make your own word searches. However, I can also do it for you. Just, contact me. Let me know what words you want and whether you just want the to go horizontal, or if you want them to go vertical and/or diagonal as well. Note that the biggest word search I would recommend would be a 25x25 letter grid and about 20 to 25 words per puzzle. They can be smaller for younger or less experienced students and word searchers. I will then, create the word search and list it for you and others to purchase, and send you a link. (Please, make sure I have your email, so I can send you the link or email you if I have any questions or concerns.)
Now, it is your turn.
Do you like word searches? How do you use them? I would like to hear in the comments. Also, if you would like me to create a word search with your words, please contact me. If you like my content and would like to get the Education Blog in your email, please consider signing up below. Thank you.
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