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Friday, June 12, 2015

TOS Review - Dynamic Literacy WordBuild

JazzEdge  Review
I was thrilled to get a chance to review WordBuild: Elements, Level 1 Set (Includes WordBuild the Game)  from Dynamic Literacy.

JazzEdge  Review

What is WordBuild: Elements, Level 1 Set (Includes WordBuild the Game) from Dynamic Literacy?

This is a vocabulary development system that is based on what is called Morphics - Essentially, it morphs roots, prefixes and suffixes together to form words. The study presents 25 Latin and Greek word families in short game and activity based lessons and even has Root Bingo game board sheets included.

We received a physical 156-page student workbook, a 336-page teacher book, and a computer game that requires Windows or MAC operating system.

The Elements Level 1 is recommended for 6-10th Grade or 7th-12th for remedial work. The program offers suggestions for using Elements Level I with a Regular Classroom of Grades 5-10, Remedial Grades 7-12, ELL Grades 7-12, Intervention RTI Grades 9-12, Summer School Grades 7-12, and After School Programs Grades 7-12.

Find samples of Elements and grade recommendations.  The company also has a level of learning for students in early to late elementary level, called Foundations.

The idea is to only spend a short amount of time, about 15 minutes a day, five days a week, having fun and learning.

The book begins with instruction on various prefixes and suffixes that will be used in each lesson, with complete instruction on how to present it to the student. It then presents the information in the same format for each day every week:

Day 1 - The Roots Squares activity

Day 2 - The Magic Squares activity

Day 3 - The Stair Steps activity

Day 4 - Comprehension Boosters

Day 5 - Word Wall Root Forms and Check-Ups


Also included is an appendix that contains "Adder" information about prefixes, Root Word Bingo Boards for game play learning, and optional hands-on activities within each new root word.


There was also a WordBuild the Game CD software that I installed on my laptop.

How Did We Use It?

My 7th Grade daughter was more than thrilled to be the one chosen for this program. She has learned some Greek morphemes and has been introduced to Latin this year, so this Dynamic Literacy program fits right in there with learning Greek and Latin roots.

I first downloaded the WordBuild Game and sat my daughter down at my laptop to use it. The software is more of a word building study tool, not a fast-paced intense graphic and sound gaming style of game. It has the user move parts of words into the top boxes to morph together and form words. The user first selects which word parts they want to work with for that round of play and also is able to select whether or not they want to do it at a self pace or as a timed round. If the user builds a correct word, you hear a cha-ching sound. The word is then added to the list of words on the bottom of the screen, complete with the word's meaning. If the word is incorrect, a box pops up with various audio messages indicating that the word is not really a word. The whole time the game is going on, you are either listening to classical music or have the option to turn the sound off.

What Did We Think?

I found the program to be a unique and fun way to learn, and I especially love how it only takes a short time each day. The teacher guide really presents every bit of information needed to teach the material. I also love how the lessons follow a consistent pattern, so the student knows what to expect each day and each week.

This particular child is an avid reader and absolutely thrives immensely on workbook learning. She generally resists online learning. So, it was no surprise to me that her preference would be toward the workbook rather than the software.

Given the choice, we would definitely choose the books over the software game, but having said that, I do see value in using the WordBuild the Game as a learning tool. I like how the game provided classical music, I believe it was Vivaldi, playing the entire time the student is building words. I am a firm believer in the benefits of classical music playing while studying. Studies have shown that hearing classical music opens up new connections within the brain's synapses. Within the walls of our house, we have seen this to be true as well.

I especially loved the little tidbits of extra learning information that included things like words that use the roots that are applicable to other core subjects, a link to online extras for teaching advanced learning or slowing it down, adding to science learning, words on colors and such, and the hands-on activities like using clay in the first set of lessons to demonstrate what morphing means.

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Read what other members of the TOS Review Crew thought by clicking on the picture below:

Dynamic Literacy Review

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