My children all have an amazing vocabulary and they love to read (or at least to be read to). Still, being the nerdy mom that I am, I am always on the lookout for new materials that will continue to build their vocabulary and their comprehension too.
Dynamic Literacy has created an online program to do specifically that; to help our kids build literacy! I was given access to the WordBuildOnline Foundations Level 1, recently for review. This program contains 25 lessons and as students progress through this, it automatically adjusts to the their level. This program is recommended for children in 2nd – 4th grades. Upon completion of Foundations 1, Dynamic Literacy offers Foundations Level 2, and Elements 1 and 2 (Elements teaches Greek and Latin roots – very helpful for future studies). I am a big fan of Greek and Latin studies myself 🙂 By the way there is no limit on this program; we have access to this course for as long as it takes my son to complete it
WordBuildOnline helps students build their vocabulary, using fun online games. Each lesson takes approximately 15 minutes and is introduced with a short video before they move on to the five exercises each lesson is compiled of. There are 10 questions in each lesson which consist of matching the prefix or suffix with a base word, thus making new words, then writing the definition as they understand it. In other lessons they need to read the sentence and find the missing word that best completes the idea being relayed; other times they complete a crossword style puzzle. Lots of fun ways to learn and then reinforce all that they are learning.
So, Lexi, the cartoon dog guides our kids through each lesson. My younger two absolutely loved him! Lexi provides lots of encouragement as you complete the activities each week: “Stupendous”, “Correct-o-mundo,” and “Great Job.” He also offers tips as you work through the lessons.
To begin each day’s lesson you simply click on “Let’s go!” and then “Start”. Once you start the lesson there is a list of the units to be covered on the lesson. Once they are completed, you will find a “Review” button which allows whatever they have finished to be reviewed (very nice addition if you ask me).
Some of the activities that are done each week are as follows:
- Affix Square (Prefix Power): the prefix is in center of a 3×3 grid. Lexi gives us the meaning of the prefix when the activity begins. From there you build new words clicking on the center square and those surrounding it.. After creating each new word, a definition needs to be typed in, in their own words. The program then adds the new words to a list along with the definitions and eight new words have been created.
- Affix Adder (Prefix Addition): Again the prefix is defined for us and new words are created as they click on the surrounding squares. Again, definitions are typed in as the words are created, and then, they need to put the word in the sentence, out of three, which is mot reasonable. I like that this requires some critical thinking in order to figure out which one makes the most sense.
Magic Square: In this activity they must identify the correct definition for each word in the box. As they click on the definitions and then the boxes they see a number which represents the definition in the box. The challenge is to make the numbers that are across and down add up to the magic number. The magic number is revealed by flashing stars if the answer they have come to is correct . If the magic number isn’t shown, then its back to the drawing board to try again. (this oe was a real struggle for my son)
Comprehension Booster: There are 10 fill-in the blank sentences along with 10 word choices given. They must read the sentence and chose the word that correctly fits into the blank. As correct answers are made, the word is crossed off of the list. This really helped us to keep track of what words still needed to be used.If an answer is incorrect the word box turn red.
Quiz: At the end of each week there is a test, which consists of 5 multiple choice questions, to be completed in 10 minutes. Three answer choices are offered. At the end of each summary there is a “You Rock” score summary shown. This summarizes how long each activity took and how many correct answers were given.
If there are any portions of the lesson that my son really struggles with he can skip it (I think it would be nice if there was a help feature to guide him through these areas). But when he does skip something, the program automatically adds the question to the end of the activity so he can try again. All questions do have to be answered in the end. And although this is all timed, Lexi reminds our kids gently, that this is not there to add pressure or to race against.
As my son completed his lesson each day in this program I received an email showing his progress. There is a parent account you can sign into as well which gives you the ability to access progress reports for your student(s). These show what level they are working at and how adjustments have been made to the program they are working on. It also shows the dates, time, and which activities were worked on. You can see if anything was not completed and you can even reset activity data in this section.
Based on the science of morphology, this program helps our children learn how to “mean” out words. With phonics you sound out each word as you proceed but with morphology you discover the meaning of the words as you go along based on the meaning of the words when you break them apart.
If 93 roots comprise 75% of the vocabulary we use in the English language and our children focus on these roots, their vocabulary will increase! If a students learns 3 roots and 3 prefixes, they now know 9 words! If they then learn 3 suffixes, now they know 48 words! Check out a sample here.
We all really like the How To Videos that go along with these lessons. I highly recommend watching these. They really do help the children, and me too, to understand what is expected of them in the activities presented each day. These are simple and easy to understand too. Not dry or boring at all. I do wish they would automatically play at the beginning of the days activity though as some days my son did skip them and I have to tell you, without those, his work was a mess. These videos provide all the information you need for each prefix, root and suffix within the lesson. What do they mean, and where do they come from? These are very important to watch for successful completion of this program.
Here’s a video overview of how the program works.
We are surely going to be purchasing Level 2 once my son is closer to completing this program. And I am definitely coming back for the Elements program to use along with our Latin program!
The cost per level or module is only $30. Right now, Jerry Bailey, creator of WordBuild, is offering 10% off the online program, and 25% off physical books, when you use the code renaissance at checkout! Consider signing up for your FREE 30-Day Trial for WordBuildOnline too.
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