Reviews by Karin: Wordly Wise 3000

I first learned about Wordly Wise while I was standing in an enormous line at our state’s annual homeschool convention. I felt like I was the only one in the line not holding a Wordly Wise workbook and even worse, I had never heard of it. What kind of Review Specialist did I think I was? Out of curiosity I purchased a workbook and I’ve been hooked on the program ever since!

What is Wordly Wise?
In a nutshell it is a systematic, sequential vocabulary program that develops the critical link between vocabulary and reading comprehension. Flexible lesson plans allow for lessons to be completed in 20-25 minutes, 3-4 times per week.

In books K–1 students are introduced to vocabulary through a carefully sequenced
progression of exercises that develop sophisticated oral vocabulary. Books 2–6
incorporate the use of context clues, word study (Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes), reading comprehension, and writing. Students in grades K–6 will significantly build the vocabulary they need in order to successfully comprehend content area texts.

Why start a vocabulary program so soon?
We all know that toddlers understand more words than they can say. Children can also understand a greater vocabulary orally than they can read or spell independently.

There are 120 key vocabulary words selected for instruction in the Kindergarten book and 150 in the first grade book.

How does it work?
-Children are taught each word directly and then shown how it works in a meaningful context.

-It focuses on connections between words and concepts, as well as prior knowledge, instead of just memorization of meaning.

-Children interact with words in a variety of ways to gain fluency.

The word lists are developed by literacy experts and are age appropriate. The words are carefully chosen to be challenging but are still developmentally appropriate.

Although the program is written to be used in a traditional classroom, I find it is easily implemented in the home.

Program Components and Features:

Colorful student books provide a variety of vocabulary building activities that reinforce key vocabularly concepts.

A section called, “My Word Lists” at the back of each student book provides a place for children to collect and categorize vocabulary words they have mastered. Words can be words that were learned through stories in the book or words they already know or read elsewhere. There is also a page for them to write any words they wish.

Concept cards and picture cards help introduce key concepts and vocabulary words for each lesson and help show words in different contexts.

The Teacher’s Resource book provides lesson plans and a script for introducing each lesson and vocabulary word, as well as ideas for extending the lesson. The lesson plans are clearly outlined and easily adaptable into shorter or longer lessons. The back of the book contain reproducible black line masters that can be used for review.

At Heart of the Matter we evaluate curriculum programs in their entirety, in the manner they are developed to be used, with the understanding that each family should and will adapt them to fit their own individual needs. With the Wordly Wise program I have noticed that some homeschoolers only use the workbooks without the teacher’s guide or other supplemental materials. I really feel that all of the components are valuable to the program and should be strongly considered.

While I’m not usually a fan of “instruction scripts” in Teacher’s Guides, I gladly follow the scripts in Wordly Wise and my children are none the wiser.

Here are a few sample scripts:

Picture Card 27: decay Say: Decay means rot. You know it’s important to brush your teeth so they don’t decay, but sometimes, decaying is useful. When dead leaves and other plants decay, they turn into soil. Then new plants grow in the soil. Look at these pictures. The y show how dead leaves and grass slowly decay and become soil. Let’s say decay together.

Picture Card 29: skeleton Say: What do you see in this picture? Yes, it’s the skeleton of a dinosaur. A skeleton is made up of all the bones that support the body of a person or an animal. Let’s say skeleton together.

Wordly Wise provides vocabulary programs for grades K-12 and are available from a variety of resources, including Rainbow Resource.

K-6 program overview
Grades 6-12 program overview
K-12 Vocabulary word list

Karin Katherine is a proud stay-at-home mother of four who feels blessed to be the mother of 5 year old fraternal twin boys and two daughters, ages three and 10 months. You are invited to follow her homeschooling adventures at and her adventures as a mother, wife, homemaker, decorator and organizer at

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