Review of WordBuild Elements Level One from Dynamic Literacy

I believe that reading well is one of the best ways to get ahead in education, and we've chosen to give our kids the building blocks to good reading by using tools that enforce the knowledge and understanding of  root words (Latin and Greek). We were sent the WordBuild Elements Level 1 Set from Dynamic Literacy to review, and it fit in so well with our goals for my son!

He is in the 5th grade and is just starting to read books that can be a little outside of his vocabulary set.  Instead of having him jump to use a dictionary every time he is stumped, we wanted to give him a better mastery of root words and the prefix and suffix pairs.  Here's how we used the WordBuild Elements Level 1 set with him:

Each morning that we did Language Arts studies, I got out the teaching and student books, and we did one or two activities for each word family.  It took him around 15 - 20 minutes to do, in total.  The components are:

The Student Activity Book: This is a very well-laid out product that focuses on a series of root words necessary for good reading comprehension.  Each root is taught and reinforced with activities that challenge the student, but that are fun,too.  "Root squares", "Magic Squares", and "Stair Steps" are just a few of the exercises that are used with each root.  It covers 25 Latin and Greek word families.

The Teacher Book: This is jam-packed with the background info parents need to teach this course.  It also has extra learning tidbits, language history essays, and step-by-steps for walking your child through the program.  It made teaching this subject pretty easy.

WordBuild the Game: This CD-Rom for PC and Mac is a more entertaining way to drill kids on 200 roots and 18,000 words.  It's much more effective than flashcards, and has music, interactive feedback, and scores for up to 99 players!

What did we think?

At first glance, the workbook/activity book seemed overwhelming. It was unlike any other activities we had done before, but my son needed just a day or two with my help to get acclimated.  In time, he knew exactly what to do with each activity, since the same type of activity is repeated with each new root word/family.  He saw these as "brain teasers" or puzzles, and he was learning his roots in no time. And, of course, as he encountered prefix and suffix words that he had already used with previous lessons, it became even more seamless for him; that's how I knew he was learning!

As a mom who places an importance on Latin, and has my children learn Latin in their Junior High and High School years, this is exactly the kind of foundational study I needed to make that journey a more natural, organic one.  Even if you never have your kids take Latin, however, the value of the program will be realized in their everyday reading, writing, and communication.

You can get the set of 3 items (student book, teaching guide, and game) at the Dynamic Literacy site for $99.99.

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