For the last six weeks, my wonderful second-grader and I got to use a vocabulary development curriculum, WordBuild: Foundations, Level 1 by Dynamic Literacy. Today, I get to review it for you. This program is for 2nd through 5th graders, and they have a more advanced program for older students, WordBuild Elements, Level 1.
We received three physical books in the mail, Foundations, Level 1:Basics; Foundations, Level 1; and a day-by-day Teacher Edition.
The Basics book is a short, 20 page workbook that introduces your child to the idea that big words are made up of smaller words. It is 19 lessons, and when you finish that book, you move onto the Foundations book. The much bigger Foundations book has lessons for 5 days a week, and the Teacher Edition gives you clear instructions for how to teach each lesson.
Each week the lessons are laid out the same way: day 1 is a prefix-square activity, day 2 is an affix-adder activity, day 3 is a magic square, day 4 is a word search, and day 5 is a review. Each week goes over a new prefix or suffix. By the end of the book, your child has learned 30 weeks worth of morphemes and many, many new words.
Here is an example of the Prefix Square worksheet. The prefix in the middle is combined with each of the words around it to create a whole list of new words, and then your child writes the definition for each of them.
Another worksheet; this one is the word search. It’s self-explanatory, really. It was very challenging for my second-grader though, because the words are so big. He has never done a word search with such large words in it, so it was harder for him than I expected.
We used the Basics book three times a week with Turbo, who will be going into third grade this fall. He is reading really well, but this is the first time we have sat and looked at how to break down large words into smaller ones. I was hoping it would help him with reading and pronouncing larger words that he comes across in his chapter books.
Unfortunately, we didn’t use the program long enough to see a huge change, but I think the potential is there. Six weeks was barely long enough to dip into the Foundations book, where the more in-depth learning really starts. I like the way the program is set up and how the Teacher’s Edition is concise and in-depth.
My son didn’t protest using this book, even though he has been known to fight back a little on anything that involves tons of handwriting. The Basics book changes it up often enough that it kept his interest. On a fun side note, we got to see Akeelah and the Bee on television this week and it was fun to see the correlation between what we are learning and how kids study words for spelling bees. My kids all enjoyed the movie, and I think it sparked an interest in language for my boys. I love seeing things like that.
If you are interested in this program, take a moment to visit some of the other Review Crew blogs and see what they had to say about their experience. Some of us used the program for younger children, and some of us used the one for older kids. It’s a great group of ladies, so go check them out!