Mar 9, 2010
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Questions about Literature, Reading and Vocabulary, part 2

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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.

Comments to Questions about Literature, Reading and Vocabulary, part 2

  • Randi, I hope you can answer this. If my child takes awful notes, does that mean they are not comprehending? They complain about taking notes no matter what the context is. Should I just teach note taking?

    Thank you,
    Mom of 3, Paula

    Paula D March 6, 2009 11:48 am
  • Hello Paula,

    Students can be fine at comprehension and still take terrible notes. If they don’t know how to take notes from the textbook, they probably need instruction in outlining. If they are not taking notes when someone is speaking, they might have trouble writing and listening at the same time or they might think that whatever the person is saying is not worthy of notes, or they might think they can remember everything they hear (wrong!). I would definitely teach him note taking and outlining skills These skills can also be called “study skills”. Sometimes I find, for certain students, that note cards work better than pages of outlines.

    Randi March 6, 2009 7:04 pm
  • Randi, the Wordly Wise 3000 series now covers Kindergarten through 12th grade level in their individual workbooks. I don’t know what format all the different levels use, but the Book 5 that my son is using for 5th grade has a word list followed by four exercises and a reading passage with comprehension questions for each lesson. There are 20 lessons in this book.
    Gloria, mom of 4

    Gloria Morris March 13, 2009 5:43 pm

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