Monday, July 7, 2008

FreeRice Vocabulary Quiz is Just Right

Most online vocabulary lists are either too easy or unbearably difficult. When I read about the FreeRice vocabulary site, I dismissed it as not worth my time. But I saw it mentioned again, and then again, and it finally tickled my curiosity enough to click over and give it a try.

Within a few words, the quiz had my level pegged --- and it had me hooked. I hovered in the low-to-mid 40s, a decent score for someone who reads widely but doesn't browse the dictionary just for fun. I played to my goal (1,000 grains), and then a little bit longer. Surely I could gain just one more point...?

Princess Kitten enjoyed the game enough to buy 2000+ grains in one sitting. The program had trouble placing her, because she made a couple of lucky guesses early on, so I went into the Options and manually set a lower level. She just finished 3rd grade and is an avid reader, currently devouring the Little Britches series. Her starting level is 10, but she's gone as high as 14 before hitting a run of words she didn't know.

How does it work?

As you play the game, unobtrusive banner ads appear on the bottom of your screen. The sponsors pay a small amount every time their ad is shown. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people.

FreeRice has a ever-expanding database with thousands of words at varying degrees of difficulty, from ESL to words that will challenge those weird people who do read the dictionary for fun. The program starts by giving you a few assorted words and then, based on how you do, assigns an approximate vocabulary level. As you play, your level adjusts automatically. There are 60 levels in all, but it is rare to score above level 50.

Somewhere in the world, however, some very smart people are playing this game. According to the FreeRice website:
"There are at least several hundred people who have reached level 60, and we are not sure how many grains of rice each earned, but it is probably a lot!"
Can I really make a difference by playing FreeRice?

From the FreeRice FAQ page:
"The rice you donate makes a huge difference to the person who receives it... Please remember that you are not the only one playing FreeRice. Though 20 grains of rice is a small amount, it is important to remember that while you are playing, so are thousands of other people at the same time. It is each and every one of you together that makes the difference. Your 200, 500 or 1,000 grains may not seem like much by itself, but consider that in its first five months, FreeRice generated enough rice to feed more than one million people."

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bluesky said...

Another great charity site is It donates money to children in need through World Vision.

Check it out at

Anonymous said...

I made it to level 60 on English Vocabulary and now I have donated 3000 rice grains!!