We were recently given the opportunity to review WordBuild: Elements, Level 1 Set (Includes WordBuild the Game) from Dynamic Literacy. One area in which I lack as a homeschool teacher is grammar, spelling, and the foundations of literacy. We read… all. the. time. My children have rich vocabularies, but they do not have a firm foundation on which to become the solid writers I hope them to be one day.

I can use all the help I can get! I had not heard of Dynamic Literacy prior to doing this review. We received a Teachers Manual, Student Activity Book and WordBuild the Game CD for our computer.

Dynamic Literacy

Dynamic Literacy is all about building vocabulary, reading comprehension, and language from the roots up. Using Greek and Latin roots, the program gives the skills necessary to decipher unfamiliar words.

Check out this four minute video about how vocabulary is taught using Dynamic Literacy:

WordBuild: Elements, Level 1 Set

We received the Elements, Level 1 Set (Including WordBuild the Game) to review. As I mentioned, we received the teacher’s manual, student activity book and CD ROM of WordBuild the Game. The set we received is $99.00 through the Dynamic Literacy website.

The teacher’s guide includes fun facts and alerts about each root, guidance on how to use the exercises, answer keys,  a weekly check up for each root, a mini dictionary, assessments and access to an online account and bonuses.

The student activity book cover 25 Greek and Latin root families. The WordBuild computer game provides practice for stringing together prefixes, roots, and suffixes. The game is timed and provides entertaining feedback. You don’t have to play the timed mode. It can be self paced as well.

The WordBuild: Elements, Level 1 set is ideal for grades 6th- 10th. Big Brother has just finished fourth grade, but has a very advanced vocabulary and reading level. He was totally able to hang with the program. The program focuses not on rote memorization, but on learning the meaning of the core parts of words. This benefits them in this way: Once kids have learned the meaning of 93 roots, they can decipher the meaning of over 16,000 words.

How We Used WordBuild: Elements, Level 1 Set

As I said, I used this program with Big Brother, who is 10 years old. He is an avid reader with a vast vocabulary. Because he taught himself to read, he often does not pronounce words correctly. He also is beginning to read books with a higher vocabulary and words he is not completely familiar with. I think he has shied away from certain books because he has been unfamiliar with the words.

The lessons in Elements, Level 1 are short and sweet. The do not require a big time commitment which makes this an easy program to fit into your school week. I would recommend doing at least three days per week.

Each lesson follows the same format and each activity complements the previous one in the lesson. Each lesson starts with Root Squares, then moves to Magic Squares, then to Stair Steps, and finally to the Comprehension Booster. At the end of the Comprehension Booster is a Challenger. Anything that has a little bonus like that is always fun for Big Brother.

The book is very visual and appears more like a puzzle book than a text book or work book. The CD ROM WordBuild the Game is a wonderful companion to the Activity Book. The game continues to enforce learning roots and unlocking the meaning of words. And, of course, Big Brother loves all things computer… so he was a fan of playing the game. We played it once or twice a week when he was finished with the book work.

What We Thought

I have never liked spelling that is rote and all about memorization. I do think kids learn differently. Maybe memorization works for some people. Maybe there is a time and a place for that. Big Sis is using Spelling U See which is all about visual memory. That’s what she needs right now.

For Big Brother, who learned to read at 3 and has never struggled to spell, Dynamic Literacy is a great fit. He is a master at word play and I think something like this- learning roots and meanings- is right up his alley. This will only serve to increase his writing and vocabulary.

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Dynamic Literacy WordBuild Elements Review

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