Ellis students enhance vocab, help hungry

Published 3:05 pm Saturday, April 11, 2009

When Jill Rollie’s seventh grade language arts students return from their Easter vacation Tuesday, the world’s hungry people will be waiting for them.

The Ellis Middle School teacher will invite her students to go online Tuesday to the Free Rice Web site, where they will be able to enhance their English vocabulary skills and donate food to the world’s hungry.

“I was looking for some fun with vocabulary to aid with the MCA reading test that’s fast approaching,” Rollie explained. “I stumbled upon the Free Rice Web site and thought it was a great way for students to have fun with vocabulary while taking part in a good cause.”

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When Rollie talked to her seventh grade vocabulary students about her idea last Wednesday, “They were completely pumped to do this on Tuesday, April 14, and help those in hunger,” Rollie said.

“We actually are going to keep track of how many grains of rice we are going to rack up for those in need on April 14,” Rollie said.

Participants, adults, children and teens play a vocabulary game on the Free Rice Web site. Correct answers to vocabulary questions result in grains of rice donated to the hungry.

The rice donated makes a huge difference to the person who receives it. According to the United Nations, about 25,000 people die each day from hunger or hunger-related causes, most of them children.

There are benefits for Free Rice participants, too. Learning new vocabulary can help participants: write better papers, e-mails and business letters; speak more precisely and persuasively; comprehend more of what is read; read faster because of better comprehension; get better grades in high school, college and graduate school; score higher on tests like the SAT, GRE, LSAT and GMAT; perform better at job interviews and conferences; sell one’s self, services and products better; and be more effective and successful at a job.

A a vocabulary learning tool, Free Rice is unmatched. There is math, science, geography, art history, other languages and more subjects to review.

The rice is paid for by the sponsors whose names are seen on the bottom of the computer screen when a correct answer is entered. The sponsors support both learning (free education for everyone) and reducing hunger (free rice for the hungry), according to the Web site.

The Ellis Middle School seventh-graders will also be enhancing the schools’ “Character Counts” emphasis by participating in the online game/learning experience.

For more information about the Web site go to www.freerice.com.