Wordly Wise 3000 is vocabulary program for grades 2 through 12. Each book contains 15-20 units, each with a vocabulary list, followed by worksheets, games, and exercises. The unit concludes with a reading passage containing all the words for the unit. Each student book costs around 15$, and an optional teacher’s book is available with tests and answer keys.
I found Wordly Wise to be very similar to another vocabulary program, Vocabu-Lit. The two programs are almost identical, with only a few differences in execution. For my review of Vocabu-Lit, read my review here.
We used Wordly Wise book 2 and 3, so by no means have we used the entire program. My review will focus on those levels only. I can say that what we saw of Wordly Wise was good. The vocabulary lists were not particularly challenging for my students, however, they did introduce other meanings to words they already knew. I did find that to be a unique feature of Wordly Wise, most vocabulary programs seem to simply focus on teaching new words, and less on refining use of known words. This isn’t to say that no new words were introduced, of course. The program had a good mix of the two.
The exercises that followed the word lists were fairly solid. They offered good practice of the words and were easy to understand. My kid’s didn’t love doing them (some were pretty dry), but they usually did them without complaint. The reading passages were also well done. Despite having what seemed like a random list of words, the passages were focused and didn’t force the words into the writing. My oldest did enjoy reading them, and most were informative and interesting.
In addition to the book, Wordly Wise does offer online word lists and games to practice vocabulary. My son enjoyed listening to the word lists at the start of each new unit. He found this preferable to reading the dry, dictionary-like entries. The games weren’t too thrilling, but for a free tool, I can’t complain. My son enjoyed them, and they were a great addition to our review time. You don’t even need a code or account to access them; the games are free for anyone. This is solid support on the publisher’s part.
The one problem we had with Wordly Wise, however, may not have even been the fault of the curriculum itself. I found that after moving on from a unit, my children just weren’t retaining the words. Going back over the material from a few units back just drew blanks. They remembered the words just long enough to get through the unit. This pretty much defeated the entire point of the program. I could have added more review, but ultimately, their hearts just weren’t in it. Wordly Wise had become busy work for them.
This curriculum was well designed. The online resources are fantastic, and the word lists are wonderful as well. However, it just didn’t work for us. Maybe it would work better for other families. In the end, it just become a list to memorize, keep in mind long enough to get through the unit, then forget. We will try something else, but that’s not a reflection on the quality of the program.
Pros: Good price, free online tools, well written curriculum
Cons: Could be ineffective