If you just want a literature section of about one page and then vocabulary from that section and about 4 exercises a week to go with it, I highly recommend Wordly Wise 3000. This book is not Wordly Wise, which I do not recommend. You will find that the Wordly Wise 3000 books have a book for every grade level and have an excellent literature selection in each unit. After the initial beginner books, any book level will work for most learners. I would prefer that the publisher go back to numbering these books instead of assigning grade levels. The positive aspect is that it is inexpensive, approximately $10, the negative aspect is that it is a workbook approach. But it is very well written.
EPS publishes quite a few styles of Vocabulary Workbooks. The format is different for each style. The words in each book are chosen according to different criteria.
For example: Vocabulary from the Classical Roots chooses words based on the Latin root. It begins with roots such as uni and bi. Then you study words such as Universal, and Bicycle which relate back to the root. This is a very good way to remember and relate vocabulary words and other words you had not previously encountered.
Wordly Wise 3000 is a literature based vocabulary book. You read a literature selection and learn the vocabulary words from the context of the story. This is a very good method for children who not only need extra reading practice, but who are also helped by getting knowledge in context.
One more thing about Wordly Wise 3000. I use it often with students who are improving weak comprehension skills. It also adapts well to Lindamood Bell Visualizing and Verbalizing techniques. The fill in the blank questions move through the 13 comprehension skills, from getting the facts to drawing inferences. I have noticed that this sometimes exasperates children and parents, but the questions are well written and worth working through.
The heavy use of riddles, crossword puzzles and hidden messages makes Wordly Wise more difficult to use. Although Worldly Wise 3000 also has puzzles, I believe they have been used more judiciously. The way the words are presented in Wordly Wise is also a little less clear. The words are presented in multiple forms ie. as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. This makes it a little more difficult. It’s not that Wordly Wise is a “bad” vocabulary book, its just that it is not as user friendly and does not teach the words in as usable a format as does Vocabulary for the Classical Roots or Wordly Wise 3000. Think of Wordly Wise 3000 as the new and improved Wordly Wise.
Word lists may more clearly illustrate the point. Below, I’ve detailed 3 lists from EPS vocabulary books. EPS also publishes other vocabulary books which we are not considering here.
* Vocabulary from the Classical Roots: monarch, monogram, monolith, monologue, monopoly, unanimous, unilateral, duplex, duplicate, bisect, bilateral, bipartisan (These word meanings are more easily remembered because they are tied together by their common roots of mono, unus, duo, and bi.)
* Wordly Wise 3000: affect, calculate, climate, column, decay, exceed, forbid, grove, limb, mammoth, mature, permit, resist, scorch, tower. (These words are more easily understood because they are tied together by a narrative selection about Redwood Trees)
* Wordly Wise: assail, assimilate, charitable, deposit, emulate, fallow, foil, hogshead, mishap, morose, ostentatious, patriot, skein, spurn, touchy, tremor. (These words do not tie together in any noticeable way, except they are vocabulary useful in a variety of verbal contexts.)
Hope this clarifies it.