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'Save the Words' Campaign Offers Free Vocabulary Building Software to Schools
Educational software company WordXpress has launched an initiative aimed at emphasizing to students and teachers around the world the importance of building strong vocabularies. The cornerstone of the company's "Save the Words" Campaign is the offer of a free one-year license of WordXpress high-speed vocabulary building software to schools that sign up for the program, which recently marked the milestone of welcoming its 100th school.
"We have become a visual society, and a consequence of this cultural shift is that young people are reading less," said Barry DeVorzon, president of WordXpress. "Movies, television, video games, the Internet, mobile phones, and texting are having an adverse effect on the way we communicate with each other. Literacy in general is on the decline and we are losing the ability to express ourselves eloquently."
Originally introduced as a tool for creative writing and songwriting, WordXpress evolved into a vocabulary building tool that offers one of the essential facets technology for today's children: instant gratification. Rather than fumble with thesauruses and usage guides, a user can enter a simple word, such as "big," that serves to express an idea in a rudimentary way. From here, the user can click on the menu bar to call up synonyms, examples of proper usage, appropriate metaphors for the word, words that rhyme, even words that begin with the same letter or sound for alliterative effect. Additionally, the software offers a function to access the dictionary definition of every suggested word.
DeVorzon noted, "You take a word like 'amazing,' and there are so many more interesting ways to say that. But these are words you're not going to find in textbooks, you're only going to find them in novels or stories." However, he continued, "[Our children's bedrooms] have become complete media centers. So when a child has an hour or two of free time, he/she doesn't curl up with a good book, unfortunately."
Still, in spite of technology's pervasiveness public schools will likely continue to require literacy and language skills. So rather than rail against a growing and intensifying trend that no one is likely to change regardless of the effort, DeVorzon sought to make vocabulary building more accessible, and perhaps more fun.
To this end, DeVorzon said he wants to give students an opportunity to improve their self-expression with the offer of the free license both to schools and, for use outside of school, to individual students. "We know school budgets are tough, so we're offering it to schools at no cost to see if they can use it and get good results. If they like it, we have a very affordable licensing program that we think any school can afford. We also offer it to students with a free one-year license, followed by access at an affordable rate."
An award-winning songwriter for movies and television, DeVorzon is perhaps best known for co-composing the iconic 1970s instrumental "Nadia's Theme (The Young and the Restless)." And as a pop songwriter and music industry executive in the 1960s, he wrote his share of lyrics and evaluated a great many more. "The ability to communicate intelligently and eloquently is a big advantage in life," he said, "and a key to success regardless of the profession you choose."
For an overview and virtual tour of the WordXpress software, click here. To inquire about participating in the "Save the Words" campaign and receiving a free one-year license for both a school facility and its students, contact the company here.
Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.