The Benefits of Word Search Puzzles When it Comes to Language Learning
Word Search puzzles are the perfect complement to any language teacher’s toolkit. They promote active learning, allowing language students to engage with the material more efficiently and take an interest, something that doesn’t always occur with passive learning. Now word search and crossword puzzles may not be the first thing you think about when it comes to language learning tools; but to solve these types of puzzles, you need skills useful to language learning.
What are these language learning skills you ask? Here is a short list.
Let’s say you’ve been learning French and want to solve a French word search puzzle. When you pick a word from the list to find, you begin thinking in French too, which is an important step on your way to becoming fluent in French.
To find a word in a word search puzzle, you must first examine the word in the list. Then, you will memorize and look for that exact spelling in the puzzle. Finally, you will look at the word in the list again to cross it out. All of this focus on each word helps you to remember the way that it is spelled. This is good practice.
With word search puzzles, you can build your vocabulary in your native language or in the foreign language you are studying. Each word search puzzle has about 10 to 20 words, give or take, and the words are usually all related to a theme in the title. In your native language, you may occasionally come across new words, and in a foreign language, that short amount of time that you focus on each new word, its spelling and its meaning all contribute to help you improve your vocabulary. Plus, you can find word search puzzles at all levels making them a useful language learning tool for everyone.
Word search puzzles are a fun way to practice for tests and to go over older material in the course of a school semester or term, or even at home if you are using the puzzles as a self-study tool.
Differentiations Between Similar Vocabulary Words
Sometimes words look or sound the same. Like beach and beech or sight and site. Solving word search puzzles that feature these different words will help you to learn and remember the differentiations between these similar words.
Color-In Word Search Puzzle Books
These fun books combine the artistic joy of coloring plus the added challenge of finding words in the word search grid. The shape of the letters in the puzzle grid can be colored in after you find a word and so can the words in the word list. These are perfect for both adults and children.
The History of Word Search Puzzles
The first crossword puzzle, published in the New York World in 1913 was created by Arthur Wynn, a journalist from Liverpool. Then, in 1968, Norman Gilbat, in an attempt to get people interested in his publication, published the first word search puzzle in the Selenby Digest, in Oklahoma.
By the mid-1980s, schools around the world had begun to use word search and crossword puzzles to help their students improve vocabulary and spelling.
Today, and with the ease of the Internet, millions of people solve word search puzzles, crossword puzzles, word fit puzzles, anagrams, cryptograms, word jumbles, and more! Both online and in print. Word puzzle books are everywhere now, in bookstores, kiosks, mini markets and supermarkets.