The first thing you have to know about me is that I love words. So it’s no surprise that I’m taken with a Web site that combines vocabulary and donating food. But if you look at the numbers and the press, I’m clearly not the only one who think’s Free Rice is pretty cool.

Free Rice is a site that quizzes you on vocabulary. (I learned “fatuity” today!)Each time you select the correct definition of a word, 20 grains of rice are donated to countries in need through the United Nations World Food Programme. Little pictures show the amount of rice you’ve earned growing in a bowl, and as you gain more, it moves to the side in bundles. In addition to tracking your rice donation, it also gives you a vocabulary score. The words it presents get harder the better you do, and your score goes up and down depending on your performance.

Well. It didn’t take long for me to get sucked into this game. And I took a coworker down with me! It’s a surprisingly effective time-eater (your employer will love it)! My coworker and I ended up competing. His strategy was speed – answer quickly and earn rice. But loving words as I do, I couldn’t bear to not at least try to get the answers right. It slowed me down, so he won the donation competition. But I got a higher vocabulary score, so I could at least feel smarter! 🙂

Anyway, it’s fun and I recommend it. If you want to know more about it in general, NPR did a short piece. And apparently if you’re preparing for the SAT’s, you really shouldn’t miss it. Have fun!