I have written about how my older boys like to write. I have also been amazed in the past with how quickly they learn and use new vocabulary. However, we have been lacking in learning how to use that new vocabulary effectively. When we were given the opportunity to review Worldbuild: Foundations, Level 1 by Dynamic Literacy through the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I researched what it was and how it worked and jumped at the chance to use it with Joshua. It has proven to be well worth it. Read on to find out what it is all about.
What we received – Worldbuild: Foundations, Level 1 includes three softcover books – two for the student (Joshua) and one for the teacher (me). The first, smaller, book, Foundations Level 1 – Basics, is an introductory book that introduces the student to the whole concept behind Wordbuild: Foundations Level 1. The Foundations Level 1 Student Activity Book is the main book that the student will use. The WordBuild: A Better Way To Teach Vocabulary – Foundations Level 1 Teacher Edition explains the concept, gives instructions to the teacher/parent and has the answer keys to all of the pages in the Student Activity Book.
What it’s all about – I really like the concept behind the WordBuild series. It is a very unique but sensible way to teach vocabulary to children and to build the students vocabulary quickly and easily. You begin with eight regular words. You then add a prefix, suffix, or sometimes both to those words to form and learn new words. Imagine this – you start off with eight vocabulary words – you add a prefix to those eight words and you all of a sudden have 16 new words, you take off the prefix and add a suffix and you’ve learned another eight words to make the total 24 words. But wait! Add the prefix and suffix both to the base word and now you have 32 new vocabulary words that you have learned in just one week! When you learn the meaning of a prefix and suffix, it opens up a whole new world to you because you can change the meaning of a lot of other words as well!
As I said, this all happens in the span of one week. On day one the eight base words are introduced along with the prefix/suffix (or both) that the student is to add along with it’s meaning. The student forms the new words and writes a definition down for each word. On day two you reinforce the new prefix/suffix by adding it to new words, writing the definition and using it in a sentence. Day three is a fun day. You match a word with it’s meaning and make a magic squire. I won’t tell you exactly how this is done because I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but it is a lot of fun. Day four is another fun day where the student completes a word search. Day five is a review – fill in the blank using a the words in the word box – day. That’s it! It’s that simple!
What we did with them – Joshua really likes working with this program. We began by using the small, twenty page, Foundations Level 1-Basics book. All it does is introduce the student to compound words and prefixes and suffixes. It included some fill in the blank type things such as:
A person who acts is an _________________ (actor)
_________________ are people who act. (actors – they added the s)
_________________ means doing it right now. (acting – they added the ing)
And so on.
It also included some word searches and other similar fun things. While I wanted to give Joshua some writing practice because he has some small motor problems and has atrocious hand writing, I also didn’t want to be overbearing. After all, this isn’t a handwriting book, it’s a vocabulary book. Therefore, a lot of this book was done orally. We easily completed it in two sittings.
After that, we got into the real meat of the program, the student activity book that I described above. Again, I use a mixture of oral work and him doing it on his own. On the first day I may have him write the new words formed himself, then I might ask him and write down what the new words meant. Day two includes a lot of writing as well but it is important to reinforce the meaning of the prefix/suffix and the word, so I often will have him complete that in two sittings. Days three and four are easy for him to do on his own, as is day five. At the beginning of the week I will often have to sit with him a little more until he understands the meanings of the affixes being used, but then, toward the middle of the week, I am able to explain what to do and he can do it on his own with me checking over his work later and explaining something if it is incorrect. There are 30 weeks in Foundations Level 1 with an assessment after every 6 weeks. Although we haven’t made it to an assessment (included in the teacher book) it looks like it can be easily done orally with a child or classroom of children.
The teacher’s book is excellent, and it has a lot of suggestions for a teacher to use this program in a classroom setting or for a parent to use in a co-op or with more than one child. Since I am only working with Joshua, I usually peruse the teacher suggestions, pick things that I think are applicable, and use those things. I really like the Teacher Edition, though, because it has a lot of suggestions to choose from and the ones that I use are very helpful. It also has a lot of information explaining the theory behind this method plus it includes the assessments mentioned above.
What we think – This is a winner in our book! I like the theory behind the method, I like how simple it is to use, I like the fact that Joshua is learning a ton of new vocabulary, and I like the fact that Joshua likes it! So many times I’ll review a homeschool item or curriculum with my family and we’ll kind of like it or just tolerate it, and then put it on the shelf when the review period is over. Not Dynamic Literacy’s Wordbuild: Foundations, Level 1. It is something that I am going to continue to use with Joshua and plan on using down the line with Jacob as well. It’s a keeper!
To find out more about Dynamic Literacy and/or Wordbuild: Foundations, Level 1 just click on the highlighted links above. Other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed Wordbuild: Foundations, Level 1 and other products from Dynamic Literacy and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below. Happy Vocabulary Learning!