Dynamic Literacy: WordBuildOnline {a TOS review}

JazzEdge  Review

WordBuildOnline, by Dynamic Literacy, is an online vocabulary course for up to 2 students who would have two separate accounts.

The way I grew up learning my vocabulary was to get a long list of words and memorize them.   With Dynamic Literacy you have an engaging way to learn vocabulary.  Instead of memorizing a long list you are learning morphemes - the roots, the suffixes and the prefixes.  By learning just these parts of a word your child will know many new words, and learn how to figure out meanings of unknown words they might encounter in their everyday reading.

Foundations Level 1 is 25 units of learning for grades 2 to 5.  The child's level of difficulty is automatically adjusted within the program, depending on his/her performance.  Each of the 25 units have 5 lessons, intended to be completed once a day in 15 minutes or less.  We have been using Foundations Level 1 with 2nd grade.

Each account has two (or three if you have 2 students) sections.  One section the student has access to and the other is for the parent.

Within the student access

Each unit is guided by Lexi, a skateboarding dog, with a speech bubble.  Using the speech bubble, the students can read short instructions from Lexi before beginning.  After each lesson the student is encouraged with a speech bubble from Lexi, such as "Stupendous!" or "Nice Work!".

JazzEdge  Review

The 5 lessons for each unit are set up in the same order each week, and they always begin with a short introduction video, on Day 1, explaining the morpheme for the week.
  • Day 1:  Affix square.  Students combine words on the square and then type what they think the definition is for each word they build.
  • Day 2:  Affix adder.  Students combine words, type in definitions, then choose 1 sentence of 3 that is a correct use of the word they combined.
  • Day 3:  Magic Square.  Students match words in a box to the definitions.  When the student has every word matched correctly, every row and column will add up to the same "magic" number.
  • Day 4:  Comprehension Booster.  Students read a "fill in the blank" type sentence and choose from a word bank to best complete the sentence.
  • Day 5:  Assessment.  A short test of 5 multiple choice questions.
Once you complete a lesson you start all over with  the 5 day set up and a new morpheme.

Connor completed his lessons, with me sitting within ear shot, once a day.  After about a week we got the hang of the program.  We had encountered a little user error (on my part), when I misunderstood the lessons being one a day.  Not all 5 a day.  After correcting my mistake, we found the program to be simple, quick and effective in teaching meanings of new words.

Connor, my 2nd grader, had this to say about WordBuild Online: "I like the end parts {days 3-5} because they are really fun and I want to start all over again.  I don't like day 1 or 2.  I don't like the typing."

Under the parent dashboard I can:

  • view a detailed student progress report - shows when your student moves up or down a level (mastery or novice), how much time they took to complete a lesson, and a rating of performance.
  • manage group - this is where you can assign your student a new level of Foundations or Elements (if you had bought additional levels)
  • manage students - add a student (up to 2), or change a password
  • manage notifications - remove yourself from email updates, or add additional people to be notified
  • edit profile - change your password or name
  • view videos - this is where you can view a more detailed video of each of the 25 units, in order of presentation.
My thoughts

Things I like
  • WordBuild Online is a quick and fun way for my child to learn words.  As a kinetic and visual learner, this program is much more effect than staring at a list of words on paper in hopes to memorize them.
  • I have my own log-in as a Parent, where I can view a detailed progress report.  I have the option to reset any lesson, should there be any interruptions, making my child "time out".  I used this once, when he accidentally clicked the "I'm finished" button, moving him forward with only one question answered.

The only things I didn't care for were the email notifications whenever a lesson was completed.  However, there is a way to opt out.  These notifications would be beneficial for children who worked independently, but mine do not at this time.  So I found the emails to be redundant.  Another thought of mine would be maybe an addition of a key for the abbreviations of each unit and lesson in the parent dashboard (and sent in my emails).  I did eventually figure it out, but a key would make that process a lot quicker.

I think the cost is really fair if you only have 1 or 2 students needing the program.  There is a 30 day money back guarantee which is also nice if it ends up just not being a good fit. 

This is something I would recommend as a more engaging way to learn word meanings.  The morphology aspect of this program has really benefited Connor's grasp of words.  One day we were driving home from a store and he was pointing out all the things he could think of for the prefix "re".  We enjoyed our experience and plan to continue with it into next year.

To see what the other reviewers say about Dynamic Literacy, click the banner below.

Dynamic Literacy Review

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