Friday, June 12, 2015

WordBuild Online - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Review Crew
In April I learned that the Schoolhouse Review Crew had a new vendor, Dynamic Literacy.
JazzEdge  Review

They were offering several products for review, and I was selected to review a product called WordBuildOnline.

JazzEdge  Review
We were given two student accounts, and I was expected to have one student log in at least three times per week. WordBuild. was created to go along witih the Elements level of students. It contains all three levels of Elements morphemes, and more. WordBuild does not want students who did not take their "Foundations" level training to get into words they are not familiar with, so  WordBuild has a preliminary section of review built right into it.

When I received my Parent information, I immediately set up my two student accounts, and we got started. WordBuild is a vocabulary program created by a man named Jerry Bailey. 
The building blocks of the program, morphemes, are based on Latin and Greek roots,. The definitions of the morphemes are presented in a painless way that enables the student to learn the meaning of word roots, prefixes and suffixes incrementally. Students log in, and in a session timed to never be longer than 15 minutes a day, the student works his/her way, activity by varied activity, through exercises that teach and test the student's knowledge invisibly. The student has access, at any time, to lists of roots, prefixes and suffixes to locate definitions the student cannot remember. See a video about WordBuild  HERE.

As I said above, the WordBuild concept is based on Morphemes, a term which describes parts of a word that give the word its meaning. An example of a Morpheme would be "form". The student is given the definition of the word "form", and then taught the definition of prefixes (re-, de-, in-, con-) and suffixes (-ed, -er, -al, -at). The student learns how to combine the root with the various prefixes, and how to determine the meaning of the various combined words.

As the student continues to work deeper into the program, the program keeps track of how the student is doing and repeats, adjusts, advances, reviews according to the progress the student is making. The program is relatively painless in situations where the student provides an incorrect answer, and provides stars with chimes for a correct answer. As a tool for improving vocabulary and increasing comprehension, it is very effective.

My favorite part of the program, as the parent, is the email that is sent to the parent each time the student completes a section, telling which section, and how well he/she did on the activities.

There was one point in our trial where the student struggled to determine the correct answers to an exercise on the screen. Frustration rising, wrong answer after wrong answer, and suddenly the 15 minutes was over and the exercise ended.
This turned out to be a very diffusing method of ending the frustration. I was able to have the confidence to let it go and not worry about it, knowing the program was keeping track and would come back around to accomplish mastery. The device of the student's frustration was abruptly gone, and that was that!

I do have to say there are a couple of minor negatives.
  • The music in the program never changes. (It doesn't play all the time, but it becomes repetitive.) I did not find an option to turn off music, but that would be nice.
  • The comments of praise for correct answers are also repetitive. I guess there is only so much one can say to indicate an answer is correct.
  • Sometimes the question/answer combinations seem like they are geared more towards 2nd language learners rather than students seeking to increase their vocabulary. One answer choice for "Formal" might say "to shape", and the word "to" might go with a definition for "form", but not for "formal". When you think about it, though, all the work on WordBuild, even the work that seems silly (like you would not say "to formal"), is building and reinforcing a larger vocabulary.
I was talking to my older daughter, and although she did not have WordBuild when she was younger, she was very enthusiastic about it. "Our work in Greek and Latin roots, when I was younger, got me through college!"

It is also fun to watch the videos of Jerry Bailey, the creator, and then listen to the voice on WordBuild -- it is Jerry Bailey!

I highly recommend WordBuild to you for the building of vocabulary in your students grades 6-12. The work they do on WordBuild will be relatively painless but will bring important returns that will help them in high school, college and beyond!

Jerry Bailey kindly created a discount code for me to pass along to you, my readers. It can be used at for 25% off the books or at for 10% off.

The code is: hsreview

Other members of the Review Crew also reviewed this vendor. To see other product reviews, please click the button below.

Dynamic Literacy Review 
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