Wordly Wise 3000, 2nd Edition, is a comprehensive vocabulary curriculum. The entire series encompasses grades K-12. Our family had the pleasure of reviewing grades 7 and 8. The materials included in our review were the student workbook, the teacher's resource book, and the accompanying audio CDs.
Each grade-level book contains 20 lessons or units that are designed to take up to two weeks to complete. With this pacing of the material, the student should complete the entire book in one year. Thus, the publisher has stated that the book numbers should correspond to the grade level that your child is in. Being new to this curriculum, I visited the publisher's website to see if a placement test was available for those students that are not "cookie cutter" students. Unfortunately, I did not find such a tool. However, there are downloadable pdf files that contain the word lists for each book. These may be of some assistance is determining placement within the curriculum.
I was impressed with the variety and thoroughness of the exercises provided for each lesson. There are five different exercises in each lesson, so the student is able to get familiar with the words and their meanings. Each lesson begins with a word list that contains each word that will be learned, its pronunciation, its definition(s), a sentence to show the word in context, and other common forms of the word. A nice feature of the text is that the word list is repeated on subsequent pages of the lesson for easy reference. As the lessons progress, there is some review built in from previous lessons.
The first exercise in the lesson is entitled "Finding Meanings." In this section, the student is asked to combine sentence fragments that utilize words from the word list to create a complete sentence that shows proper use of the word. The second exercise is called "Just the Right Word." This section requires the student to substitute the words in bold in a sentence with a word from the list. The third section, titled "Applying Meaning," presents a multiple-choice question about a word from the lesson. A "Word Study" is the fourth exercise in each lesson. This section usually involves identifying synonyms and antonyms or completing word analogies. The final exercise presents a reading passage that incorporates the words from the lesson. The passage is followed by reading comprehension questions pertaining directly to the vocabulary words being studied.
The publisher's website touts the inclusion of Latin and Greek roots in the curriculum. I found this to be incorporated on a very limited basis, at least in the 7th and 8th grade books that we reviewed. The word lists were definitely age appropriate, if not somewhat challenging. From their site: "Middle School vocabulary instruction focuses on preparing students with strategies to unlock the meaning of words they will encounter in content area texts, literature, and high-stakes-tests."
The corresponding Teacher's Resource Book is more than just an answer key. The beginning section contains suggestions to the parent for the pacing of each lesson, different strategies and tools for assisting your student in learning the vocabulary words, as well as a walk through a sample lesson. The student book answer key is contained in the Teacher's Resource Book. It also contains an additional review exercise for each lesson as well as tests and corresponding answer keys for each lesson. The Teacher's Resource Book is spiral bound for easier use.
The retail price of this product is comparable to other vocabulary curriculums. The student book retails for $10.95, and the Teacher's Resource Book is $43.95. At first glance, I felt that the Teacher's book was a bit pricey, but then I remembered that there were no separate tests or answer keys to purchase. A new add-on item that is available is a 5-CD audio set for each level. These sets contain an audio reading of each word list, definitions, sample sentences, and an oral reading of the passage that is in the fifth section of each lesson. Because they are priced at $55.00, I would recommend these CDs only if English was a second language for the student or parent.
All in all, Wordly Wise 3000, 2nd edition, offers a thorough study of challenging vocabulary words for grades K-12 at a price that is comparable to other leading vocabulary curriculums. If you are concerned with preparing your student for standardized tests or the SAT, the various exercises contained in this curriculum are comparable to the types of questions found on such tests.