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Early World of Learning

By Susan W. Hixson - Posted Jul 1, 2010
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REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Early World of Learning

Company: World Book, Inc., 233 North Michigan Ave., Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60601. Phone: (800) 975-3250; Internet: www.worldbookonline.com.

Price: Annual subscriptions begin at $199.

Audience: Preschool through early elementary school students.

Format: Web-based early language arts learning resource.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with a current internet browser and an internet connection. A printer will be useful for the classroom; headsets to control noise would be helpful. Most of the nursery rhymes, songs, and classic stories can be downloaded to an MP3 player and played independently of web access.

Description: Early World of Learning, the newest addition to the World Book Classroom series, focuses on preschool and early reading education. The online program supports educators as they help students build vocabulary, comprehension, phonics, and reading fluency.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation/Setup: No installation is needed for this online program. Users log in with a username and password. I had no difficulty accessing the site. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: The Early World of Learning homepage provides access to three interactive learning environments: Trek’s Travels, Welcome to Reading, and Know It. Each section features many activities designed to reinforce and allow practice of reading skills.

The Trek’s Travels homepage looks like a fantasy map with 11 themes represented by fun places. From the Welcome Center, students can travel to Color Castle, Number Geyser, Taste and Smell Kitchen, Places Oasis, Sound Circus, Moving Around Playground, Texture Desert, Opposite Island, Size City, Shape Jungle, and Time Tower. Each place offers stories, games, and videos.

The Welcome to Reading section includes 48 stories at four reading levels. All of the stories are matched to Lexile reading measurements; the range of levels can help teachers meet varied student needs. The Lexile-leveled material helps to place students with material that does not frustrate them as readers and fits their progress in building comprehension and fluency.

The stories can be played in audio versions or they can be read by students. Songs and rhymes are available for each story; the text is highlighted as the song is sung.

Games and activities are available to reinforce phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. Students can work on “concentration” activities, matching words with pictures or pictures with pictures. Phonics practice includes matching sounds by dragging a sound-alike picture into a labeled bucket. In other games, missing words are filled in and compound words are created by sliding words together. All of the games are great fun.

The Trek’s Travels and Welcome to Reading homepages provide access to a range of activities, including Story Corner, Games, Videos, Print & Do, and Sing-along.

The Story Corner features stories, nursery rhymes, and songs with read-aloud features. These resources can be downloaded in MP3 format and copied for use in a listening center or for students on-the-go. As learners listen to the stories on a computer, the words are highlighted as they are read. The reading voices are clear and expressive.

Students can move the pages ahead or back with arrows located at the bottom of the screen. All of the stories can be set to be read aloud; the audio can be turned off with the touch of a button to enable students to read independently.

All of the videos and games can be accessed from the sections’ homepages. More than 100 printable handouts are available in English and Spanish; these work sheets are listed by subject for easy access.

The printable materials are very helpful, particularly since time at a computer may be limited. Students can work with these materials at their desks or finish these pages for homework.

Each activities section includes a “For Educators” button with background information, lesson plans, and enrichment ideas. Each area of the program includes additional resources and information about the Lexile Framework for Reading.

The Know It segment introduces students to nonfiction and the beginnings of research. This section presents World Book at its best as students pick from topics and begin to explore facts. The six topic areas—Animals, My Body, Community Helpers, On the Move, Weather, and Plants—are listed with pictures to help guide student choices. As a topic is selected, students can hear the information read aloud. Pictures and videos are available for each topic.

The online Educator Center offers access to resources including Multimedia-enriched Early Literacy Instruction, Components of Reading and Best Practices, links to supporting reading and web articles, and Curriculum Correlations. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: Teachers and students will enjoy this colorful program as it introduces new stories, ideas, and many reading skills. Moving through the program is easy. The activities are explained clearly; they are fun to explore and play. Students will want to work with the exercises again and again. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: A training site for Early World of Learning is available for educators. Lesson plans and suggested activities are also offered. Technical support is available with an email link on the website. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: Early World of Learning provides leveled stories with colorful pictures and word-by-word highlighted read-aloud features. The stories can be assigned for independent reading or as listening lessons.

This program should be an enormous help for educators trying to get students to practice reading and build vocabulary. The games and activities reinforce sequenc ing, ordering, phonics, fluency, and comprehension.

The many printable activities will enrich learning centers; the downloadable listening files add another resource to the classroom. The nursery rhymes and songs help students to learn the rhythms of reading and to build vocabulary and fluency as they begin to read.

I highly recommend that teachers explore this program and consider using it in the classroom. Highly recommended.

Reviewer: Susan W. Hixson , Educational Consultant; (480) 837-7803; swhixson@yahoo.com.


 
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