Friday, June 12, 2015

Dynamic Literacy ~ Elements Level 1, Deluxe Edition

I had the opportunity to review Elements Level 1 ~ Deluxe Edition, by Dynamic Literacy. This vocabulary development series is for the student who has successfully mastered phonics and is familiar with academically based content text. In Elements Level 1 the student will learn 25 Latin and Greek Root Families. The WordBuild the Game CD game contains over 200 roots and 18,000 words.

Check out the Elements 1 sample to get a feel for what Dynamic Literacy has to offer.

I have always been fascinated by the study of words and their origins. Words are the basic building blocks of communication for all languages. The more words that a students know, the better they will be with regards to writing, reading and speaking. 

Elements 1 contains a full year's worth of activities that focus on the most commonly used roots of our language. Dynamic Literacy relies on having the student learn the meanings of the key elements of a word's roots, prefixes, and suffixes instead of rote memorization. With rote memorization, the student often times forgets what they have memorized. With this program students remember words and their meanings because they learn to understand the core parts of words. With minimal time each day, your student will be well on his way to successful vocabulary development.

You may ask exactly how and why does WordBuild work? Well, after learning the 93 most frequently used roots of the English language, along with prefixes and suffixes the student is able to decipher over 16,000 words.

prefix + root + suffix = WORD

The student activity book is broken down into weekly units. Each week is broken down into a five day plan. 

Day 1 ~ Root Square Activity
Day 2 ~ Magic Square Activity
Day 3 ~ Stair Steps Activity
Day 4 ~ Comprehension Boosters
Day 5 ~ Assessment/Check-Up Form (these are found in the Teacher Manual)

“To enjoy and learn from what you read you must understand the meanings of the words a writer uses. You do yourself a grave disservice if you read around words you don’t know, or worse, merely guess at what they mean without bothering to look them up.

For me, reading has always been not only a quest for pleasure and enlightenment but also a word-hunting expedition, a lexical safari.” 
~Charles Harrington Elster~

How we used Elements Level 1:
I had my sixth grade daughter use this program. She was very excited about learning how to unlock word meanings without always having to look in a dictionary or ask me. She REALLY liked the short amount of time that was required to complete each days lesson section. In her words, "I wish all of my subjects could be like this." My daughter is a strong, avid reader who reads on average 25+ novels a year. She is now getting into the more advanced high school level classics. She is coming upon words that she is unfamiliar with. This program helped her decipher word meanings in these upper level novels.

I really like how all of the activities within the lesson complement one another. The student progresses from forming words using roots, to defining and using the words within a given context. It is important that students not only read but understand what they are reading. Dynamic Literacy comes alongside, and provides the keys to unlocking words and their meanings with this easy, step by step process. 

My daughter's favorite activity is Day 1, Root Squares. The student is given a "root" and then eight word parts and the goal is for the student to create as many words as they can. For example:

Word Finds
  1. special
  2. specialist
  3. specially
  4. specials
  5. specialists
  6. expect
  7. expects
  8. inspect
  9. inspection
  10. inspects
  11. inspections
  12. suspect
  13. suspects 

I like how Dynamic Literacy teaches the student HOW words are built. When a child is able to unlock the meaning of a word, all of the sudden, there is life and meaning and purpose for that word. Words give writing emphasis and color. 

“A man with a scant vocabulary will almost certainly be a weak thinker. The richer and more copious one's vocabulary and the greater one's awareness of fine distinctions and subtle nuances of meaning, the more fertile and precise is likely to be one's thinking. Knowledge of things and knowledge of the words for them grow together. If you do not know the words, you can hardly know the thing.” 
~Henry Hazlitt, Thinking as a Science~

I was unable to use the WordBuild the Game Supplemental CD because Dynamic Literacy has not continued to update their program to work with the more current operating systems for Apple users. When I contacted Dynamic Literacy, they said it was too hard to keep up with the Apple operating system updates so they have not updated past the OS X system. This supplemental CD could also be used as a supplement to the Dynamic Literacy Online Curriculum. Purchasing and using this game is not necessary for the completion and/or success of the curriculum. 

Final Thoughts
I really liked this curriculum and think that it would be appealing to many educators and homeschoolers, based on the ease and amount of time needed each day to complete the required work. I will definitely continue to use this curriculum with my children. 

“Will I have to use a dictionary to read your book?" asked Mrs. Dodypol. "It depends," says I, "how much you used the dictionary before you read it.” 
~Alexander Theroux, Darconville's Cat~

To read more reviews click HERE.

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1 comment:

  1. Great review! We reviewed the Foundations level, and it was too easy for my rising 6th grader. We might give Elements a try!