Monday, June 10, 2013

Homeschool Review: Wordly Wise 3000 Book 3

I selected this book last year, for third grade, for a couple of reasons. I love vocabulary and I wanted to ensure that First Son was increasing his understanding and ability to use new words. I was also looking for a few things that would travel well, especially one morning a week when Kansas Dad would be supervising some independent work, and would be good supplements to what we were already doing. A vocabulary workbook seemed like a good fit and I had heard good things about the Wordly Wise series.

This book has fifteen lessons, most of which follow the same pattern:
  • A word list with parts of speech, definitions, example sentences and sometimes illustrations (note: the word list does not include pronunciation, so a parent unfamiliar with the words would have to find that somewhere else; I personally did not encounter any words I did not know in the third grade book),
  • Exercise 1: Words and Their Meanings - either selecting from multiple choice the vocabulary word that matched the definition or the definition that matched the vocabulary word,
  • Exercise 2: Just the Right Word - replacing bolded words in a sentence with the correct vocabularly word,
  • Exercise 3: Applying Meanings - answering multple choice questions involving the vocabulary words, 
  • Exercise 4: Word Study - grammar lessons using the vocabulary words, like adding suffixes or prefixes to make new words from vocabulary words,
  • A passage with reading comprehension questions in which the vocabulary words appear in the passage, the questions, and the answers,
  • And usually a review word puzzle would finish out the lesson.
In addition, there is a Wordly Wise website that provides games and additional practice. My kids played the games a few times and loved them, though they often needed help because the word lists would include five lessons at a time so they were not always familiar with all of the words.

I would spread a lesson over two weeks, working twice each week:
  • Week 1, day 1 - read through the word list with my son, taking turns reading them. Then we worked through Exercise 4 together.
  • Week 1, day 2 - First Son worked through Exercises 1, 2, and 3 independently.
  • Week 2, day 1 - read and narrate the passage. Sometimes I read it to him. Sometimes he read it independently. If his narration didn't include the answers to all the reading comprehension questions, I would ask those as well.
  • Week 2, day 2 - the review crossword or word puzzle, if there was one, and sometimes using the Wordly Wise website.
I used this book as a consumable; First Son circled or wrote his answers within the book. It would be very easy, however, to write the answers in a notebook and save the book to use with other children in later years.
Overall, I liked this book. The passages were surprisingly interesting, though there was one on bullies I chose to skip. The exercises gave my son some practice on the types of questions he might find on a state or national assessment (if we did them) and exposure to multiple choise and fill-in-the-blank type questions. I think as a vocabulary supplement, this book (and probably the series, as much as it follows the same pattern) would be great.

The word study exercises were the most challenging. There were even a few when I wished I had purchased the answer key (which I do not think is necessary). I found First Son really could not complete these on his own.

Even so, I decided to stop after lesson nine. Our need for independent work had changed a little as Kansas Dad and I moved our schedule around. I often found First Son's vocabulary grew much more from the books we were reading in our other studies, most especially from the family read-alouds which were often more challenging that what he could read himself. Eventually, I decided the time to do the Wordly Wise book would be better spent in other ways. (I believe we stopped it the week we started an eight week basketball camp.)

I did not receive anything in exchange for this review. I purchased the Wordly Wise 3000 book myself.

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