Build K-12 critical thinking and vocabulary with this fun, engaging app.

App of the Week

12 word description of app/product:

Build K-12 critical thinking and vocabulary with this fun, engaging app.


web-based app for all devices


What does it help with?

Critical thinking and vocabulary development

What grade and age range?

 K-12+  Content ranges from K through 12 but is being used in colleges as well.

Is this core/supplemental/special needs/extracurricular/professional development or what?

Supplemental ELA content. It is appropriate for ALL students (e.g., GT, SPED, Title I, ELL)

What subject, topic, what standards is it mapped to?


What lesson time does it use?

Ranges from 20 min 3/week (research results statistically very significant) to flipped classroom use only.

What is the pricing model?

Per student / calendar year.

Are there services around it?

We also provide professional development

What makes _______ unique?

InferCabulary is the only tool to actively engage students in semantic reasoning as a method to learn vocabulary. Rather than having students in the “passenger seat” InferCabulary puts them in the driver’s seat. They must engage actively with our carefully chosen images to deduce and infer meaning. Because language plays a support role, rather than the primary role (in definition and explanation-based instruction), ALL students can learn. This process mimics avid readership, which is the typical way students learn depth of word knowledge. Because so many students are not avidly reading, they miss opportunities to encounter words in a variety of contexts. InferCabulary expedites that process, and helps close vocabulary gaps, and/or builds on already healthy vocabulary knowledge in a fun way.

A description of the characteristics--how is it designed for user interface, user experience? What instructional design principles are at work here?

Students have three activities, currently: basecamp, climb and assignments. In Basecamp, they are exposed to a single word, and 6 images (randomly presented). They are to infer the common thread through deductive and inductive reasoning to determine the word’s meaning. Students then click on each image to read/hear a caption. Captions guide their thinking, providing scaffolding. Words and phrases are often contained in the captions to help them formulate their own definitions. Finally, the definition is revealed. Students work through 10 of these word lessons, earning a lifeline for the Climb

In the Climb mode, students see four images (from the corpus they may have encountered in Basecamp) and four words. They are to choose the one word that goes with all four images. They use lifelines to ensure their mountain-climbing avatar does not slip down that climb.

Teachers select words based on grade-level, or by category (such as working on transportation or emotion words). A favorite feature of InferCabulary is that teachers can assign words from novels/literature. We have tagged words in our system by chapter in over 450 books. Teachers can make assignments (similar to Climb mode) but this serves as a stand-alone quiz or pre- and post-test.

Differentiation is key in InferCabulary. Student grade level can be modified (without students being aware). Entire classrooms can be assigned word lists, but lists can be modified for each student.

Teacher reviews:

My middle school students love Infercabulary.  The images and captions elicit higher level thinking about words, and they are motivated by that game design of the activities.  I love that I can customize word lists, assign independent work or play as a group, and confidently monitor my students’ progress.   Infercabulary provides a powerful and motivating way to learn new words. --Michael Young, Wilson Dyslexia Therapist, RTI Specialist & Middle School Teacher at Groves Academy, St. Louis Park, MN


InferCabulary is not a typical vocabulary program, and there is no commercially available program that address the needs of students the way it does. Not only does it provide well thought-out and enticing visual stimuli that help students create more vivid associations and connections with the words, but it also heavily emphasize inferencing skills and develops higher-order verbal reasoning. InferCabulary has made an outstanding contribution to the field of speech-language pathology and education. InferCabulary is a game changer for interventionists, and recognized as exceptional by educators, SLPs, students, and families alike.  -- Lindy Rosen Nelson, PhD, CCC-SLP, Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, Pikesville, MD


InferCabulary has exploded with excitement! My students are motivated and enjoy the learning adventure and rigorous challenges. They enjoy ascending the mountain and reaching new peaks. My students request InferCabulary daily for class and home use.  Also, my students began using their learned words orally and in writing. Their conversations became more deep and meaningful. I implemented a “Million Dollar Word” activity where students were able to jot down one of the new words learned, explain its meaning, and write the word in context. Together we have built a large collection of “Million Dollar Words.” In addition, I was able to use my InferCabulary data as a tool to measure my students progress. Lastly, my students’ abilities to use contextual and visual clues as readers increased. I am looking forward to building more academic success utilizing this program with my diverse dual language population. --Michelle Hernandez, Elementary Dual Language Teacher, Peekskill City School District, Peekskill, NY


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