Thursday, 15 February 2018

Give your child's vocabulary a gigantic fun-sized boost with the innovative Mrs Wordsmith learning programme

We're always interested in reading and reviewing new books, but we're also always hugely interested in any new schemes or programmes designed to help children boost their lingual and learning skills, particularly when those things can be a colossal amount of fun.

The Mrs Wordsmith subscription-based programme is one of the most attractive distance learning packages for kids that we've seen. Not just attractive but expertly devised by a knowledgable and academic-minded team who each bring their own unique skillsets into the programme in various ways.

The core aim of the programme is to vastly improve your child's vocabulary, offering them simple exercises and fun games to boost their word counts by 10,000 words - over the space of an innovative and beautifully designed programme learning a word or two a day.

For the purposes of our review, the Mrs Wordsmith team kindly sent out a six month "Sampler Box" and we were really excited when the kit turned up, and couldn't wait to start unboxing it...

Making learning fun! The Mrs Wordsmith pack contains tons of awesome materials to get you started. 

The whole programme is gloriously illustrated by Hollywood artist Craig Kellman (who produced stunning concept art for movies like Madagascar and Hotel Transylvania, and whose work we'd previously come across and loved to bits). Presentation-wise you really can't fault these packs, crammed into a gloriously designed and brightly coloured orange box that generated tons of excitement at home and really helped to underline 'learning for fun' rather than 'oh god, not another school-type thing, I get enough homework as it is!' for C from the outset.

Impeccable Design - Oh hey, there's another word pair!
The way the programme works is by careful choice of 10,000 words that your child should know before they slide into their teenage years. It's always difficult to pin an age group on anything as children's own learning journeys and abilities are so hugely varied (I worried that this kit might be a bit 'young' for C) but I'd probably say this is going to be great for ages 5 well into early teens.

The programme has a set of clear simple instructions to help you get up and running. Based around a workbook and a project folder, with supplementary card games and other great little activity ideas the aim is for children to work at their own pace with a word or two a day in specially coloured and categorised word groups starting with Character words, and moving through Weather, Taste and Smell, Action, Emotion and Settings categories - all of which provide a gigantic boost to children's familiarity with words, and their ability to take those words forward and use in their own creative writing or class-based learning.

Of course, we couldn't resist this particular word and definition (with the best illustration in the box!)
We've seen many attempts to 'gamify' learning, and again the Mrs Wordsmith programme seems to achieve the perfect balance of providing involvement and immersion while still keeping things light-hearted and fun.

A crazy-cool cast of characters are here to help make learning so much fun!
The subscriptions offer both monthly or 6-month up-front payment plans (with savings if you opt to pay for the entire first 6 months of the programme in advance). You can find more about the subscription costs here:

There's also a link for teachers, as this is the sort of programme that would work brilliantly as a supplementary programme for the entire class, or select children who are finding the going tough and need a bit of extra tuition. Mrs Wordsmith for the Classroom is coming soon, but teachers can sign up and get more information and a free classroom pack via this link:

We really highly recommend this visual approach to learning, particularly the 'play' aspect of having a kit and programme that the whole family can join in with (we really liked the idea of playing the card games to supplement the word sheets). I think it'll be interesting to see how the project develops, there's certainly tons of amazing content already here and I think it's going to be of particular use to C who really likes writing her own stories, but often falls back on her own 'comfort zone' words. This will definitely encourage her to think of new words and ways to flesh our her own writing, and should also give her plenty of scope to bring that in to written essays and word work at school.

Our review summary then:

Why this approach works...

The Mrs Wordsmith pack instantly draws a child in with instant 'unboxing' appeal and a really fun and strong visual approach to both packaging and content.

Words are carefully curated and chosen, sticking to 'contemporary' words that children will find useful in their development but also hugely relevant to the modern world and modern lingual expectations in and out of school. The methods for retention and pairing / linking words are really simple and yet hugely effective, meaning that parents and teachers can apply the same methods in other ways outside the programme too.

Why we liked it...

We've seen various learning programmes that either get the content right but feature really naff 'school-like' designs that instantly feel a bit charmless and sterile, or get the visual design right but dumb down the content. This is the first time we've seen a literacy self-learning programme that looks great, has fantastic content but importantly also has an achievable and non-pressured programme that can easily be completed around existing homework and leisure schedules without feeling like it's 'extra work'

Why we'd recommend it...

For the reasons above, but also for the fairly low investment cost considering what you get, and what your child will undoubtedly get out of it. It's a great parent / child co-activity that is actually a lot of fun for parents to join in with as well as for their kids. The team behind Mrs Wordsmith have obviously done their homework in knowing how to make their product appealing and attractive.

Such a fantastic idea, one we'll definitely be keeping an eye on. To find out  more, pop by the Mrs Wordsmith Website today and take a peek at this amazing programme.

More about the Mrs Wordsmith Team: 

Craig Kellman – Award winning art director for the programme. The artist behind a vast cast of characters including those from Dreamworks’ blockbusters Madagascar and Hotel Transylvania, as well as Sony’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Sofia Fenichell - co-founder and CEO of Mrs Wordsmith. She is a serial entrepreneur who also founded Wonder Place Ltd. Prior to Wonder PL, Sofia was an Executive Director and analyst for leading hedge funds and investment banks Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and UBS. She has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA in History from Northwestern University.

Dr Lesley Sand, PhD - Curriculum Director, is a cognitive neuroscientist from the University of Maryland, with a background in Special Education and Learning Disabilities. Her primary research interests include brain mechanisms related to language and reading development.

Ian Brookes – Lexicographer, former Editor in Chief of Chambers Dictionary has contributed to the creation of over 50 dictionaries and reference books from Chambers, HarperCollins, and Oxford University Press.

Disclaimer: 6 month review kit kindly supplied by Mrs Wordsmith. No payment has been received for the review and the review opinions expressed are our own.