Word Voyage - Integrated Vocabulary, Grammar, and Sentence-Writing for Grades 4 and up

Teacher Observations

I have used Word Voyage for the past five years because the program explores words more deeply and thoroughly than any other vocabulary text or program I've seen. The customer service is unparalleled; you can expect almost immediate assistance! The company continually improves its offerings. My students are enjoying the new games!

Lisa Robbins, Dana Hall School, Wellesley, MA

We just completed our ERB testing for the year! My 6th Grade Vocabulary scores are off the charts!!!! Thank you to you and the Word Voyage Team for all that you do to contribute to our success!!!

Robin J. Lage, The Canterbury Episcopal School, DeSoto, TX

My students are no longer worried about forgetting their workbooks in school because they can log into their Word Voyage accounts from any computer. As soon as they began spotting vocabulary words within their novels, students immediately understood the importance of the program. They were no longer stuck on difficult words, and instead enjoyed fluidity in their reading. The ability to schedule units on the calendar gave me the freedom to assign homework in advance, and in turn provided the students with an opportunity to manage themselves and their workload over the course of the week. The company is a pleasure to work with and has answered my every concern promptly. Our work with Word Voyage continued as my class divided into numerous literature circle groups and students began logging into different units tailored to their reading choices. 

Joy Brada, Barkai Yeshivah, Brooklyn, NY

You have been so great with us and we are looking forward to another great year.  Guess what?  Our ERB Vocabulary scores improved 16% last year!

Karen Anderson, Wise School, Los Angeles, CA

Word Voyage has been a great interactive and educational tool that I use with my 5th-grade composition students. I love that my kids are gaining valuable knowledge and exposure to our English language. They are being exposed to meaning, usage, and etymology in great depth, much more so than I could teach them alone. And all I have to do is choose a book, create a unit, and supervise weekly progress. The staff is both friendly and professional. They always respond to my questions and needs in a timely manner. Thanks, Word Voyage!

Josephine Lidberg, Agape Christi Academy, Eden Prairie, MN

This is my first year working with Word Voyage. I love the curricular tie-ins with literature we're reading, but the greatest value I see in Word Voyage is my ability to work with students on their writing at a sentence level. As we practice new grammar skills within the weekly sentences, I can easily see who can put those skills into practice and who might need more time. For this reason, Word Voyage is so much more than a simple vocabulary program in my classroom - it is an integral part of my writing curriculum.

Kristin Liu, The Country School, Madison, CT

Word Voyage has proven an invaluable tool in my classroom as a first-year middle school English teacher. My students are both engaged and challenged by the programs and their vocabulary has flourished. Not only am I able to personalize our lessons to complement the rest of our English curriculum, but Whit responds with lightning fast speed to any questions or issues that arise. I have nothing but the highest praise for this program and Whit.

Laura Micetich, University School of Jackson, Jackson, TN

I have so enjoyed using Word Voyage with my middle school students. The practice exercises give the children a deep understanding of each word and amply prepare them for the unit exams. I am particularly grateful for the ability to correct my students' original sentences electronically. I am able to go back and forth with them several times per day if necessary. Word Voyage has streamlined vocabulary instruction for me.

Alexandra Huggins, Princeton Charter School, Princeton, NJ

Word Voyage is the most comprehensive, customizable vocabulary program ever, and it's geared to respond to the most up to date brain research on how students learn. They have added a grammar component which the teacher can further customize to match their own grammar curriculum, giving students the active practice they need to master grammar, punctuation and syntax rules. Support and training are embedded in the program, so any teacher can get immediate help if they forget how to set anything up - but the logic is easy to use, even for us digital dummies. Kids love the games they can play with and against each other. Teachers love the quality control and knowledge that their students are truly learning and retaining vocabulary as well as practicing usage. It's a win-win!

Joy Lenters, The Mead School, Stamford, CT

I have been using Word Voyage with my 5th-grade class for the last two years. My students really enjoy it, and also find it challenging. It is a great supplement to our novel studies, and keeps my readers on their toes, looking for the WV words. The best part of the program, in my opinion, is the sentence writing feature. My students hear a dictation and write the sentence. Then they have a crack at writing their own original sentence. I can curate how long, what parts of speech I want underlined, what type of sentence to write, etc. There are videos to help remind students of the grammar rules if they need it. Another great aspect of the program is that it does all the grading and keeps it nicely organized for teachers. I can refer to it during grading periods. I love Word Voyage!

Emily Callahan, Lycee Francais de San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Word Voyage was a new addition to our school this year and was used frequently in the Fifth-grade English classes. It was used to enhance vocabulary in the context of novels that we were reading. The kids found the program challenging, yet fun. It was easy enough to modify for the different reading levels as well. When comparing vocabulary assessments from the beginning of the year with those given at the end of the year, there was an overall improvement. Even more rewarding was seeing the comparison in writing samples from beginning and end. Word choice had definitely improved.

Heather Moore, The Alexander Dawson School, Las Vegas, NV

Word Voyage has opened up a whole new world of word meanings for my students. They understand how many words can be broken down into smaller parts that then work together to create meaning. The sentence writing tools are fabulous! I love that I can integrate my grammar lessons into Word Voyage to create a deeper understanding of how all the parts of speech work together to create meaningful sentences. I never hesitate to recommend Word Voyage to other teachers when they talk about how their students are having trouble understanding word meanings. It's truly been a great tool for my students to gain a deeper and more meaningful understanding of word definitions and usage! Thank you Word Voyage, I appreciate the quality service that you're providing to my students.

Stephanie Krisulevicz, The Salisbury School, Salisbury, MD

For students who didn't grow up speaking English, Word Voyage has been helpful in building their vocabulary, expanding prefix and suffix repertoire, and developing the ability to make sense of unfamiliar words based on the contexts. The program has led my students to be unfazed upon the encounter of a new word because they know the context is always at their disposal. As a high school ESOL and literature instructor, I'd highly recommend this program.

Chi Chi Sun, Pilgrim School, Los Angeles, CA

Impressed by the focus on learning root words, using vocabulary from our humanities program in original sentences, and incorporating grammar rules, our middle school decided to try Word Voyage. I love hearing my sixth graders discuss the meanings of words they've learned from their work with Word Voyage when they discover these same words in the novels we read; this is proof of true learning. I find the ability to differentiate content to appropriately support and challenge each learner essential, and Word Voyage allows me to easily build the best unit for each of my students.

The technology aspect of Word Voyage appealed to our laptop middle school as well. Reliability and technical support were huge factors in our decision to use Word Voyage and we have never been disappointed. Word Voyage runs smoothly for teachers and for students, always.

Word Voyage offers overflow lessons, games, and grammar videos to support student learning. My students appreciate the choice of working a little each day or for longer periods of time less frequently. They also like the instant feedback as well as the opportunity to revise mistakes. Their scores on the final unit tests tend to be high because they've practiced using the words in so many different ways. Rose, a sixth grader, sums up the value of Word Voyage well. "Word Voyage teaches me to dissect words in the Meet the Cousins section--I like understanding what I read."

Amy Calomeni, Villa Academy, Seattle, WA

I've loved using Word Voyage with Middle School Students this year! I've struggled for years with making vocabulary meaningful for older students, while also keeping up with the weekly grading of it. Word Voyage simplifies the grading process, giving me more time to focus on how they implement the words in their writing, as well as lets the students learn at their own pace. I can differentiate word sets for a variety of learning needs, and each student can work on vocabulary at their own pace. It's also been a great tool to reinforce grammar rules, by allowing me to assign sentences that require them to identify clauses, verbs, phrases, and more. The Word Voyage team is responsive, and are always willing to work with us on new word lists, and how to help individual students. It never feels like I'm working with a distant computer-based instruction program, but rather working side by side with the developers at Word Voyage to meet my individual student’s needs.

Chrissy May, Villa Academy, Seattle, WA

Word Voyage is the perfect program to help students learn contextual vocabulary. It makes learning vocabulary interactive and fun, while introducing them to roots, prefixes, and suffixes that allow them to understand the way words are formed and helps students understand foreign words.

Natasha Chadna, Buckley Country Day School, Roslyn, NY

Word Voyage has been a great tool for my seventh graders. It's consistent practice for them, and I find it easy to grade and give feedback. It gives them meaningful practice with unpacking word definitions and using them accurately. It has also been a great way to address sentence-level errors in their writing, and I've seen an improvement that has been transferred into their lengthier assignments. This is all well and good, but I will say that my seventh graders really enjoy Word Voyage. The progression through their lessons ties into the human need to see progress and achievement! It has completely replaced vocabulary workbooks in my classroom, and I can't imagine going back to pen and paper for vocabulary activities!

Anne Rabbino, St. Hilda's and St. Hugh's, New York, NY

This online program made it easy for my students to expand and enhance their knowledge of vocabulary (the English language). Their language and sentence writing skills greatly improved as the students became comfortable with the program, and this was reinforced in the classroom setting. The ease of use this program provides is impressive, and it is an excellent education tool we will continue to use!

Teresa Claypool, Providence Academy, Plymouth, MN

Word Voyage has made grammar and vocabulary instruction so much more manageable. It allows the students to incorporate technology, while demonstrating their understanding of grammar and meaning of unknown words, in alignment with the CCSS. Word Voyage lessons incorporate many important components of language and make formative assessment much more convenient. I am able to quickly check the progress of student lessons and provide timely feedback.

Blakeley Cohen, Scofield Magnet Middle School, Stamford, CT

The best thing about Word Voyage is how flexible it is. It seems to have infinite capabilities, not only for teaching vocab, but for helping students fine-tune their grammar, mechanics, and writing style. I even used the program to make a customized word list for every student, allowing every child to pick a unique list of words, so that none were wasting time 'learning' words they actually already knew. But even when a student has some prior knowledge about a word, studying vocabulary through Word Voyage helped them to understand the roots of the word and learn a bit about its relationships with dozens of other 'word cousins' that might not seem clearly connected. For all its capabilities, Word Voyage also comes with incredible support. As a teacher who used the program for the first time this year, I have asked for help on many occasions, often at the last minute, and have always received a cheerful and immediate response to guide me forward.

Morgan Peirce, St Matthews Episcopal Day School, San Mateo, CA

Word Voyage is an awesome program for student self-paced vocabulary study! We were able to work with Word Voyage to have custom vocabulary lists produced that correspond with the novels we read in class. To have vocabulary reinforced through explicit vocabulary study and again in texts is invaluable for student retention. The program is engaging for students and demonstrates multiple ways to work with words beyond read, recite, regurgitate. My students like that their vocabulary learning is something they can do without me in front of the classroom, and they can even work on their lessons at home. The added enrichment of having students use the words in context and being able to modify settings for sentence writing again shows why Word Voyage is a great program for our kids. The best part about Word Voyage, however, is their customer service; Whit is an excellent support system when I need him and always readily available either by e-mail or phone. I definitely recommend other teachers give Word Voyage a try!

Abby Weiss, Loudoun Country Day School, Leesburg, VA

I've enjoyed the flexibility of Word Voyage; it's easy to create custom word lists, and the people at Word Voyage work hard to put together new lists based on books or SAT words as we request them. I also like that students write sentences which review not only the vocabulary words they are learning but also important grammar concepts. The Word Voyage folks are always adding new features and are very responsive to requests for help. They also run webinars to train teachers on how to use the site and any new features which have been developed.

Rich Andriole, Derby Academy, Hingham, MA

My fifth graders used Word Voyage this year for vocabulary instruction, transitioning from a book to an online program. I was able to pick out meaningful words for them from the novels they were reading and from the history lessons they had in their Social Studies class with me. It validated what we were doing, making it real for them. Often the students would use a scene or example from the books when crafting their sentences. Then I would know that the program was working for us. The students used the program on their i-pads, as we are a 1-1 school.They had time in class to work when we were getting started, but as the year progressed, it usually became homework. I allowed one week for each lesson of 5 words and a catch-up lesson at the end before the final unit test without any new words. If a student still did not finish before the test, even with trying to keep them in at breaks, etc. they might end up with a zero fora lesson. That happened, but only very rarely. In addition, Whit was always willing to create a new list for us, or to simplify definitions. He was receptive to the teacher feedback we gave him and returned calls for assistance very promptly.We will be returning for year two this year. Since my incoming fifth graders used the program as fourth graders last year, I anticipate even more success since we will all be "old timers" this year.

Joni Mandel,  Saint Stephen's Episcopal School, Bradenton, FL

Word Voyage allows students to engage with prefixes, roots, and suffixes in thoughtful and productive ways. The program encourages the sort of informed guessing that characterizes adventurous readers.

Thomas Kuck, St. Hilda's and St. Hugh's, New York, NY

I am the English Department chair at a Catholic college prep school, grades 7-12. In the last few years we have sought to re-examine our programs in light of 21st-century learning skills. Since October of this year I, and several other English teachers, have experimented with Word Voyage. I find the program hits upon many essential elements of 21st-century learning.

First, it allows for individualized learning. Word Voyage individualizes the study of vocabulary, allowing a student to work at his or her own pace. It also allows the teacher to deal with a student's individual needs re:numbers of words, sentence writing/corrections, spelling, and grammar. It has been interesting for me to deal with both honors and non-honors students and to adjust my demands to their ability and their needs.

Second, the program utilizes a universal design. Word Voyage has aural and visual components for both kinds of learners; its use of interactive technology evens the playing field for students challenged by the physical act of writing. The resource experts in my school love this!

Third, the lessons focus on a traditional study of vocabulary based on roots, one that, in my 30 years of teaching English, I have found to be the single most effective way of increasing students' word power. Because it is root-based, Word Voyage involves critical thinking; students are asked to go beyond memorization and investigate why words mean what they mean.

I could not be more happy with customer service at Word Voyage. They have responded to all my questions, requests, and suggestions with alacrity. I am amazed at the promptness with which they have created customized word lists on demand for our literature and subject-specific curriculum.

John Guevremont, English Department Chair, Mount St. Charles AcademyWoonsocket, RI

Teaching in an increasingly inner-city school is somewhat of a challenge. Students come in at varying levels of education, and responding to their individual needs can be a difficult task. Last year, I started to use Word Voyage as a part of my Language Arts curriculum. Since I was new to the program and wasn’t sure how much time I’d have to learn something new, I assigned words to only my honors students. These students needed enrichment beyond my curriculum, and I decided to use the program to meet that need. What I quickly learned is that Word Voyage gave me the opportunity to really “connect” with my students. Each time they sent me a sentence, I could give them individual input. I could focus my corrections on the skills they needed to improve upon. They engaged in the program, became quite competitive with each other and worked hard to impress me with their new knowledge.

I enjoyed the “on-line” interaction with them. I would watch my nightly television, check into Facebook and correct Word Voyage sentences. It became a regular routine that I didn’t mind. Correcting took on a new meaning. The kids were so involved, that at one point, I was sitting in a conference in another state, and when I checked into Word Voyage, I realized that the kids had taken their “free time” in the computer lab and decided to complete some lessons! They had taken it upon themselves, without my direction, to work on word studies instead of playing games. I wasn’t even in the school! It was at that point that I knew I was hooked.

This year, our Professional Learning Community (PLC) narrowed down our focus to some basic essential learnings. We had to pull out some basic skills that all learners should master. Among theareaswe decided to focus on were vocabulary and context clues. I put more kids into Word Voyage for this reason. I believe strongly that if a student can write a sentence that uses a word in context, that it will become easier for them to determine the meaning of a word when it is given in context by another author. By requiring them to write contextual sentences, they’ve become better at determining word meanings in their reading.

In addition, learning about prefixes, suffixes and root words has been helpful. Students are starting to see that most words are made up of “parts.” They have a better chance of figuring out the definition of a word since they can connect it with similar words. Even more, they have started to make “connections.” I will often hear, “This word is kind of like the word that we had in Word Voyage.” So true.

All in all, I enjoy the interaction with individual kids through a different medium, the internet. By eliminating the pencil and paper, kids seem to be more invested in writing. By getting constant feedback from me, they are more invested. Because I can choose different word lists, I can make the program accessible to both my lowest learners and my most advanced learners. My special education students can work on basic skills and my honors students can start preparing for their SATs! Word Voyage has become a large part of my homework program. I can control the number of words my kids learn each week and vary that depending on ability level. Since the kids work at their own pace, I can correct sentences a few at a time, instead of bringing my teacher bag home. My students come in first thing in the morning and ask, “Did you correct my sentences?” or “Did you send any of my sentences back?” or “How did you like my sentences?” and my favorite, “Ms. Walsh, tell me if I used that word correctly because I think I nailed it!” When kids start to care about the sentences they write, I know that we’ve won half the battle. Bravo Word Voyage and ahoy!

Lynda Manganello Walsh, Pennichuck Middle School, Nashua, New Hampshire

We spent a year looking for a method to address vocabulary development and more, I call it "plus," something beyond what we have typically seen in the market place. Our Middle School has roughly 300 kids, grades 7 and 8. With a wide diversity of learners, we differentiate our instruction through small group and individual targeting. We also modify for our gifted and talented students.

Here in Maine we have a one-to-one laptop program at the Middle Level statewide. Our district decided it was worth supporting one-to-one at the high school level as well. Our 7-12 population resides on one campus in 7-8 and 9-12 buildings. Part of our search for an answer to vocabulary development had to stretch past the middle level experience. Word Voyage seemed to fit our needs. We piloted a small group (at no cost) at the middle level last year for 2 months, which provided a thorough evaluation. The criteria we needed to see included: ease of student use, ease of teacher use, able to span 7-12 all the way to SAT needs, Web-based (platform independent), able to extend the school day for student learning, and customer service.

This year we are using Word Voyage for all 7-9 students and all special education students 7-12. At the half year point we have seen significant growth in NWEA scores for all students. One teacher indicated: "Wow- every kid has already had a year's growth!” This is just what we needed as we were behind a grade level with one third of the population. The results are so compelling that for 2012-13 we will be extending our Word Voyage license to grades 4-9 for all students. Word Voyage students receive extensive practice with Greek and Latin roots and sentence writing- using the words in context. The ease of use all the way around makes this program without a doubt a win-win for student and teacher.

Bob England, Assistant Principal, Medomak Middle School, Waldoboro, Maine

Word Voyage has quickly become an integral component of our 7th grade Literacy curriculum. Students look forward to learning their word parts online and at their own pace. This program is the highlight of our class for most of our students!

Word Voyage is designed so that every student can be successful. Most students working on grade level are cruising along learning new vocabulary and a plethora of roots, prefixes, and suffixes. They love using Simon the Avatar to learn the history and origin, the part of speech, and the meaning of cool new words. Some students, like our ELL students or our targeted reading intervention students, are working on a different list, a Dolch list compiled at just their reading level. They spend more time with spelling out syllables and listening to Simon the Avatar say the accented syllables so they can pronounce the words correctly. Other students, who are reading above grade level, find Word Voyage a unique challenge and are trying to see just how many word parts they can master! Word Voyage is automatic differentiation, adapting the word list and the speed at which each student learns. So Word Voyage addresses the needs of each learner on our team.

I spend just 10-15 minutes a day reviewing the students’ work online and setting them up with their next lesson. I log on quickly from wherever I am—home or school or on-the-go—and do my evaluating and assigning in no time at all. Just a few clicks and the words are ready for the students to learn.

I love Word Voyage and know that our students do too. Often they ask if I can get the laptops into class so that they can “just work on Word Voyage.” How funny! How can any educator not love that! They consider it a treat and look forward to using the program. Please let me know if I can be of any further help. I would love to discuss my experiences with Word Voyage with you.

Stacey Allen, Literacy Educator, Pennichuck Middle School, Nashua, New Hampshire

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