Today's Wisdom

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review of WordBuildOnline

JazzEdge  Review

If your student has tried memorizing vocabulary lists before only to completely forget everything they learned after their test, then today's review just might interest you. Dynamic Literacy has produced a program to enhance vocabulary development. The product I'm going to share with you today is WordBuildOnline. This is an online program that takes just 15 minutes a day and really helps students connect words of the English language together. They also offer programs in print as well.

What is WordBuildOnline

WordBuildOnline uses morphology, which is the study of the form of words. The program uses roots, prefixes, and suffixes to teach students how to find the meanings of words even if they have never encountered the word before. Out of the 93 Latin and Greek root words taught, students will learn the meaning of 75% of the words used today in Academic English.

The program is broken down into two series to choose from - Foundations (has 2 levels) and Elements (has 3 levels). See the chart below for guidance on age and grade ranges. It is recommended that all students begin at Foundations 1 or Elements 1 regardless of age.

Using this program, students will improve vocabulary knowledge, reading comprehension, and test scores. They also offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.

How We Used This In Our Homeschool

I registered both of my now high schoolers for use of this program hoping it would help them on their end of the grade testing as well as just enhance their vocabulary. We began with the Elements 1 program based on their grades and age. Each child had their own login with their own account set up under a master parent account.

The program is designed to adjust the level of difficulty based on your student's performance. It is recommended to only spend 15 minutes a day, 4-5 times per week doing the activities given for each Greek or Latin root word, suffix, or prefix. This is so simple but we have all learned so much already including myself. The activities are fun. We found some to be extremely easy to complete and some a little more difficult.

Here is what a typical week of activities would look like for us:

Day 1 - You would begin by watching a video on the root, suffix, or prefix studied for the lesson. Our skate boarding tour guide, Lexi, was a big hit for both of my boys.

Day 1 activity - After you have completed the video, you would begin the daily activities. This is where your student would put in to practice what they have learned to combine the root word with different suffixes and prefixes.

Day 2 - Here is where students would try to match the definition with the vocabulary word using what they have been taught about the root word, suffix, and prefix meanings. The key to this was each row of numbers put in had to match. This was one of their favorite activities to do.

Day 3 - This is the stair steps. Again students use what they have been taught to combine the root word with suffixes and prefixes. This activity was the one my boys found to be the hardest but there was a suffix and prefix button at the bottom they could use for help when needed. If you will notice, there is a timer in the upper right hand corner. That is there to make sure the student did not spend over the 15 minutes trying to figure these out and become frustrated. If time does run out, it doesn't make the student feel like they failed at anything but offers positive encouragement to try again.

Day 4 - Students read an odd story and fill in the appropriate vocabulary word in the sentence. They will continue that process until all 10 words have been used.

Day 4 -  This could also be done on day 5 but mine completed the last 2 activities together since we try to keep our week to 4 days.  This is where students will show how well they have learned the root word with prefix and suffix combinations. This is a series of 10 questions as well.

You can set up your parent account so that you will receive notification of each activity your child completes. I really liked that feature and it saved me time from having to check up on my students each day. Once I week or so I would check into my parent account where I could see a report of both boys activities and how well they were doing. There was also an option to reset a lesson if desired which they recommend only to be used if a student is interrupted while completing a session since the system automatically adjusts the content according to the student's performance.

This program was a huge hit with our family. I think knowing that they could complete it in 15 minutes a day was a real encouragement for both of my boys. Most of the activities could be completed in less than 5 minutes for my boys.  We would highly recommend this to any student. It would make a great review for students preparing for SAT tests as well since you have the option to complete the program at a faster pace if you would like.

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