Fun, First-Class Vocabulary eLearning Program
We love word roots at our homeschool. In fact, that’s really the main reason we took up Latin. Super Hero, who has developed a quite handsome vocabulary, seemed to be always curious about words’ lineage. Thus, studying Latin (we’re still considering Greek) made perfect sense. And now taking on Dynamic Literacy‘s WordBuildOnline made perfect sense for us too.
We were happy to receive complete access to WordBuildOnline – Foundations Level 1, for free, in exchange for my thorough and honest review. Access to WordBuildOnline Foundations, Level 1, costs $30, there are no time limits. No rush, just go at our own pace. That’s quite nice!
What to Expect of WordBuildOnline
WordBuildOnline or “WordBuild –A better way to teach vocabulary,” is a program developed by word enthusiast, Jerry Bailey. Foundations, level 1 and 2, targets 2nd to 5th graders (or 5th-9th for remedial work.) The next level up is Elements, which focuses on Latin and Greek roots. Elements, level 1 and 2, is for children in 6th through 10th grades (or 7th-12th for remedial work.)
WordBuildOnline teaches vocabulary through mostly fun games. A lively cartoon character named Lexi, guides the child through the lessons. There are 25 lessons in Foundations, level 1, which covers compound words built with prefixes and suffixes:
- Re plus Ed
- Un plus Able
- Er or Or
- Ed adjective
- Un plus Ed
- Dropped E
Each lesson comprises 5 daily activities. They are all short. Though it usually hasn’t taken Super Hero more than 15 minutes or so to complete everything, the time allowed is 10 to 15 minutes per activity. An explanatory video comes first. The video helps the child understand the gist of the lesson, and guides him on how to perform the activities. The video is well produced and effective in driving the point home. The voiceover is quite pleasant, I’m assuming it’s Jerry Bailey’s voice. My first impression about his voice was that it had remarkable similarity to Jesse Bernstein’s, narrator of the popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians audiobooks. (Yes, I know you were dying to know this juicy trivia tidbit 😉 ) After the video there are several games such as magic squares, word banks and crossword-type puzzles. A quiz to review the lesson comes last.
The parent dashboard offers a bird’s eye view of the child’s progress. Clicking on “REVIEW” reveals the exact answers the child has marked in the various activities. There’s even a button to reset an activity if you’d like. I haven’t reset anything. I really haven’t felt the need to do so, not yet anyway. But I guess it’s good to know it’s there.
Just as one would expect of a parent dashboard, it’s possible to manage your account, profile, groups (maybe a coop group and your family group), add more children within a group, or add more courses.
So, How Have We Liked It?
Super Hero has found WordBuildOnline quite agreeable. He has enjoyed it very much so far, so much so that he gave it a 5 star rating for Fun! Actually, he rated all items 5 stars. He does the review ratings, and earning a 5 for Fun is no easy task. So that alone ought to say a lot about the program. I probably would deduct ½ star from Quality because the program does have a minor bug. It isn’t anything to write home about, really. Yet I’m mentioning it for the sake of completeness. (I’m supposed to write a thorough and honest review after all.)
So, for example, some activities require the child to hit enter after each question/answer. Others require the child to click the button “Go”. The button “I’m finished” appears almost always. Well during the first game, Super Hero answered the first question and nothing happened. There was no obvious indication on how to proceed (or if there was, we totally missed it.) So he clicked on the only available button: “I’m finished.” It finished all right! It ended the entire activity, but with a dreadful score! Worse yet, there was no way or retaking the exercise, Super Hero had to move on to the next activity.
The moral of the story: There should be explicit directions on how to proceed at all times. It’s not always clear or consistent. Other than this minor flaw, which was obviously easy to avoid from then on, WordBuildOnline delivered a fun and sensible method of learning vocabulary.
The program teaches the meaning of words, and meanings of words within words, based on the science of morphology. WordBuild wants children to “mean” out words. It presents the case of “Exponential Learning”, hence, if the child knows 3 roots and 3 prefixes, he will understand the meaning of 12 words. But if the child knows 3 roots, 3 prefixes, and 3 suffixes, he will understand the meaning of 48 words.
“Add 3 more roots, and that’s a whopping 96 words by only knowing 12 things!”
I encourage you to visit WordBuildOnline’s page on Exponential Learning. Its charts and detailed explanation will make much more sense than me just quoting whopping figures.
In a Nutshell
In Super Hero's Own Words
WordBuildOnline is fun. The activities are short, and I like the videos.
Yes, I would recommend WordBuildOnline. For a family who totally shies away from dry, boring workbooks, Dynamic Literacy provided us with a fun, solid, dynamic (pardon the pun!) alternative. It delivers a solid methodology that tackles not just word by word, but extensive vocabulary learning under a well laid out strategy.
You might like to get started with its free 30-day trial. Also, Jerry Bailey has kindly offered a 25% discount off the books or 10% off www.wordbuildonline.com. Just use the code reliant, exclusively created for readers of my blog. Thank you so much Jerry Bailey 🙂
Want to Learn More?
If you’re like me and gotta hunt the entire Internet for more reviews before you commit, you got it easy. Read all the reviews you may be craving from my fellow Crew members. Or stop by WordBuildOnline website, or Dynamic Literacy’s social media accounts: