For Mira’s kindergarten year we briefly utilized Wordly Wise‘s kindergarten curriculum package. I did a blog post on it when we were about a month into the program. You can read it here. Mira loved it. She enjoyed the stories and the activities in the workbook; and at first, I really did too…. However, after a while I began to feel that it really had become “busywork”. Maybe if I had started with Grade 1 I might of felt as if we were better utilizing our time and stuck with it. As I mentioned in my original post, Mira has an interest in learning new words and loves to interject new vocabulary into her daily conversations. She pretty much does this unprompted and will ask about an unfamiliar word when she reads or hears one.
After a few months we stopped using Wordly Wise completely and instead focused on our Word Boxes. The girls each have their own index card box [I picked up a cheap plastic one at Walmart but you can go fancy with something like this] loaded with alphabetical dividers. Whenever we come across a new word that piques our interest we’ll look it up and write (or draw for pre-writing kids) the definition and place it in our word box. Then we’ll try to use it in our daily conversation for the next couple of days (or weeks) and the girls get a sticker for their sticker books whenever they use the word properly in a sentence or point it out when they come across it in books, television, or spoken out in public.
It isn’t something we schedule or set a specific amount of time for; instead we make vocabulary something you do in the course of your daily life. Since we do plenty of reading and reading aloud there are pretty much daily occurrences of new words coming into our word boxes. Mira will either grab our children’s dictionary or else we’ll use our favorite internet dictionary site, Wordsmyth, to look up the word. If you haven’t utilized Wordsmyth yet, I highly recommend you check it out. Not only is it a great free dictionary for kids but parents can use Wordsmyth to create personal glossaries and quizzes.
It’s funny because I started our word boxes thinking they would be a supplement to a more structured vocabulary curriculum but they seem to have morphed into our main vocabulary builder. That’s not to say that down the road we won’t pick up something formal again (I hear Wordly Wise Online is a great resource) but for now we’ll stick with our Word Boxes and see where they take us.
Related Link– Check out Stella utilizing her word box for a color sorting activity.