Brea, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2013) – Mastering academic vocabulary is a key factor in preparing students for state exams and is an important step towards college readiness. Ballard & Tighe, Publishers, a leader in instructional and assessment materials for English language learners, today announced the launch of Word Raider: Escape, a new online academic vocabulary game that blends rigorous vocabulary instruction with engaging modern-day game design for students in grades 2-5.

Academic vocabulary has been identified as a major factor underlining the achievement gap between English language learners (ELLs) and native English speakers. A recent report published by the National Assessment of Educational Progress found that ELLs scored lower in vocabulary than other student groups.

“In Word Raider: Escape, we wanted to develop a tool that addresses the importance of learning academic vocabulary, but also engages students in a meaningful way,” said Mark Espinola, CEO of Ballard & Tighe, Publishers. “We turned our attention to game-based learning for its ability to engage students, and teach word meaning through visual, sensory and interactive scaffolds that are key to long-term retention.”

In the game, academic vocabulary is taught by presenting an animated word on screen in a manner that reflects its meaning. Following the introduction of the word, players solve puzzles and earn badges by using the word in multiple contexts in listening, speaking, reading, and writing tasks. By the time players complete the game, they have been exposed to more than 1,100 assessment items.

Word Raider: Escape enhances student learning by:

  • Increasing student engagement via a rewards system
  • Developing deeper contextualized understanding of words
  • Enabling self-paced, differentiated instruction
  • Delivering learning to students at home or school
  • Providing a teacher portal to monitor student mastery

Word Raider: Escape is designed to prepare students in grades 2-5 for the rigors of the Common Core State Standards. The game is priced at $24 a year per student. Teachers can sign up to play a trial game and districts can sign up to pilot the game for up to 20 students at the Word Raider: Escape web site.

For more information, visit

About Ballard & Tighe, Publishers
Since 1976, Ballard & Tighe, Publishers has produced high-quality instructional and assessment materials for English language learners. Ballard & Tighe materials are used in more than 3,500 school districts across the United States and around the world. For more information, visit or phone 1-800-321-4332.

Media Contacts

• Khoi Nguyen, Ballard & Tighe, Publishers, 800-321-4332,

• Charlene Blohm, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x17,

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