Word Detective: A guide for the classroom

Word Detective is our nationwide citizen science project. Many children have already participated, earning their Word Detective certificate. With your help, we hope many more children will take part. We need 1000s of Word Detectives to help us answer important questions about how children learn to read. You can complete the quiz with your class in 10 easy steps, by following our how to guide. And there are prizes to be won!

Word Detective is a fun word game, for children aged 5-16 years. It is completed over the internet and takes just a few minutes to participate. At the end of the project, we hope to learn which words children of different ages know.

Our quiz is simple to set up, making it perfect for a whole class activity. To carry out the quiz with your class, please follow our 10 step guide shown below, or download it here.

And why not combine the Word Detective Quiz with a language and literacy activity provided by OUP’s Oxford Owl? Links are provided at the bottom of this page.






We have 10 x £20 Amazon vouchers up for grabs! Tweet us at @ReadOxford using the #worddetective to let us know your class has participated and your school will be in with a chance of winning.

Alternatively, let us know via email at: worddetective@psy.ox.ac.uk

We look forward to hearing from you!






Our 10-step guide to using Word Detective in your classroom

Step 1. Log onto the computer and make sure it is connected to the internet. Then, open an internet browser (preferably Google Chrome).

(It is possible that your school’s internet settings will block access to our secure quiz. If you cannot access the quiz, or the animations are not working properly, please add these secure links to your trusted sites: research.sc, infuze.co.uk)

Step 2. Type https://tinyurl.com/ReadOxford-Detective into the URL bar and hit enter

(click on any of the images in this guide to open the quiz in a separate tab)

Step 3: Scroll down and click on ‘Word Detective’ 

Step 4: The quiz will open in a separate tab. Click ‘start’ to begin!

Step 5: Next, there are a few questions about age and language use. Make sure the children tick the box at the bottom which indicates you are happy for your class to take part (circled in red).

Then click ‘next’

Step 6: Here is the welcome screen. Our quiz contains animations with sound – please click on the button in the bottom left (circled) if you’d like to turn these off.

Then, click ‘next’

Step 7: Here is the instruction screen. The rules are simple: click ‘yes’ if you think the word is real, and ‘no’ if you think it’s made-up.

Step 8: This is what the quiz looks like. Use your mouse to click on ‘yes’ or ‘no’

Step 9: There is a break screen half way through the quiz. Once you are ready to carry on – click ‘continue’

Step 10: The end! The children will be presented with a certificate (this can also be printed off). Click on ‘finish quiz’ once you are done!


Language and literacy activities provided by OUP’s Oxford Owl:

All in Order Challenge                        All in Order Super Challenge

Exciting Writing – Challenge             Exciting Writing -Super Challenge

Spelling Challenge                               Spelling Super Challenge

Synonym Challenge                             Synonym Super Challenge

Using Connectives – Challenge         Using Connectives – Super Challenge

What do you mean                              What do you mean – Super Challenge

Which Spelling Challenge                 Which Spelling Super Challenge

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