I am only one person. It’s really hard to be a teacher and a mother of three little people all at the same time. When the review crew offered the opportunity to test WordBuildOnline, an online vocabulary program from Dynamic Literacy, I jumped at it!
Last school year, I dropped our vocabulary workbook because I just needed to drop some things from MY to-do list. But it irked me because my daughter is a voracious reader (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree apparently). I was interested in having a simple activity that my daughter could do to increase her comprehension while keeping me (mostly) out of it.
About Dynamic Literacy
Dynamic Literacy is a company that teaches vocabulary in both a book and online format for schools and homes. The materials teach vocabulary primarily by teaching how prefixes and suffixes change the meaning of a work. It is intended for students in grades 2, 3 or 4 but can be used for older students if necessary.
We were provided with a subscription to WordBuildOnline, Foundations 1. Which has 5 activities for each of 25 lessons. They also offer a second level of Foundations as well as Essentials which goes over Greek & Latin roots. A WBO subscription does not have an end date, so you can take as long as you need to complete it.
How We Used WordBuildOnline
We used WordBuildOnline approximately 3-4 days a week at the end of our school year. My oldest is 7.5 but finishing up second grade work at the time we began. Each section takes a maximum of 15 minutes per day and is entirely online, so it doesn’t take a lot of time to add it in.
Each day has a different activity. On the first day, there is a short video about the piece of the word that the student is learning and an affix square, where they pair the suffix/prefix of the week with a grid of root words and then have to type the meaning of the word.
On day two, the student completes an affix adder. In this activity, they need to add the prefix/suffix to a (predefined) word in a sentence and then type a definition to it in a box. In day three, the activity of the is the magic square. The object of the magic square is to match up the definitions with the prefix/suffix + various words. The fourth day’s activity is the comprehension booster and the last day is a review/quiz.
Miss Bookworm enjoyed working through the WBO, but did find it a little difficult. She is heading into third grade, which is in the middle of the age range. We have not spent a ton of time working on writing things into her own words, nor typing and so the 15 minute time clock made her a little anxious. Also, I noticed that she did not have a great grasp of making the definitions at first. Her guesses were a little…off. I had to explain many words to her on the first day, but once I explained them, she had it the rest of the week.
There is an email that is automatically emailed to the parent/teacher when a section is completed, but it’s not useful other than you know that they attempted it. It would be nice if there was a little info. For instance, at the end of a lesson it tells the student, “you answered x correct questions in x:xx.” While I can log in to the teacher area to find that, I’d rather have it emailed to me, either daily or weekly.
Overall, from the standpoint of a mom who needs some independent activities, I really liked WordBuildOnline. While she wasn’t completely independent on writing the definitions and she needed a little guidance with some words, I thought it was a very in-depth and robust program. I think she will see great gains in comprehension as she continues to use it.
She really enjoyed the activities. I heard no complains and she was one of the people who was really motivated by the paw print “stars” for the week :). She couldn’t pick her favorite part when I asked, but did say that it was fun. She’s a bit reserved these days.
If you are looking to increase comprehension of words/meaning but do not have time to add another item to YOUR plate, WordBuildOnline is a great program to try. It’s also a great program for a kinesthetic or auditory learner since it has a video component and most activities require a bit of participation from the student. You can work through it at whatever pace necessary and it can be part of independent work for 3rd-4th and up.
If this looks like the program for your student, you can use coupon code happyhome for 25% off books at Dynamic Literacy or 10% off WordBuildOnline. There is no expiration for the discount at this time, but since you can take as long as you need, you should take advantage of it before you forget about it :).
Find out more about the various vocabulary building products offered by Dynamic Literacy from members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.