Words are Wonderful
Subtitled “An Interactive Approach to Vocabulary,” this complete vocabulary program takes the study of words to a deeper and more well-rounded level than other programs that simply supply the student with a list of new words to learn and repetitive exercises to use them. Words are Wonderful instead focuses on presenting new words in context and placing an emphasis on meaningful parts of words, including prefixes, suffixes, and inflectional endings. This offers students an opportunity to dissect words, play with them, and understand the complex relationships between different words and parts of words. Students become word investigators, taking an active approach in vocabulary building, all the while learning strategies to help them figure out the meanings of words they are not familiar with.
Lessons contain several parts, and offer students many ways to use the words they learn. Each lesson begins with a textual selection that may be either fact or fiction; poetry, biography, factual articles, myths, fables, book reviews, and more. Words featured in bold are the selected vocabulary words for those lesson, and the succeeding activities use these in a variety of ways. The next activity contains thinking questions about the reading selection and will often require them to use some of the vocabulary words in their response thoughts, writing these words in the context of their own words. The next activities focus on the content of the words, the exploration of their definitions, and breaking the words into their meaningful parts. These vary widely, as each one is designed for students to explore another aspect of the meaning or construction of the word, providing a versatile range of vocabulary word usage. A glossary of vocabulary words is also included at the end of each student book so that meanings are always close at hand. At the end of each lesson, a “Writing Workshop” is given, allowing the students an opportunity to write a few sentences or paragraphs on a related topic to the lesson, using some of the vocabulary they have learned in the lesson. Books 1-4 each contain 24-30 lessons, divided up into several teaching units each containing six lessons. The first five lessons are instructional, and the sixth lesson provides a review. Book A (intended for 2nd grade) contains 12 lessons, and less intensive writing activities.
Corresponding teacher’s guides include the vocabulary word list for each lesson, objectives, and isolates and lists any specific word elements studied in that lesson. Teaching plans are included, incorporating ideas for introducing the lesson and concepts, as well as reinforcing activities. All of this surrounds the corresponding minimized copy of the student pages with answers filled in, so the teacher and student guides are always “on the same page,” literally. Enrichment activities, suggestions for activities with learners of different ability levels or disabilities, as well as “Book Spots” for extending the lesson into literature are also included with each lesson in the teacher’s guide. All this allows the teacher to extend the lesson and reinforce the concepts as much or little as is necessary in accordance with the student’s abilities, while offering a host of suggested activities to pick and choose from as necessary. We also offer the teacher’s guide and test book for Book A. They are probably not absolutely necessary at this level, but provide more teaching help and a quick way to check answers. If frequent assessment is desired, tests for all levels are available in blackline master form. These include a 20+ question test for each lesson in the corresponding student book, as well as midway and final assessments. Answer keys are included for each test and assessment.
Books 1-4 are designed to introduce about 330 new words a year, more than is provided in many other programs (Book A is the exception, with only about 75 new words). This provides enough vocabulary to keep the student with the average to above-average vocabulary to stay well on track for their age, while allowing the student who may be lacking to catch up a bit to others at their grade level. Whatever their level, students of many different abilities and learning styles are sure to benefit from the versatile use of the vocabulary words that will surely “stick” after so much reading, writing, study, dissection, speaking and all-around word play. - Jess