This overview of the structure and general operation of WILD is designed to help teachers get started using this rich online resource with their young students. For more detailed information on how to use WILD, please go to A Detailed Look at Navigating in WILD.

WILD’s structure

WILD consists of four components, or learning environments, each providing unique information to assist young learners as they develop skill in different areas of literacy.

  • The Book: An illustrated K-2 dictionary of nearly 4000 words with easy-to-read definitions, multiple senses of words, and kid-friendly example sentences. All labeled items throughout WILD are linked to their entries in the Book, and the Book entries themselves serve as hubs between the different WILD components.
  • World: Interactive picture dictionary showing labeled items in natural and urban settings (such as “Forest,” “Farm,” “School,” and “Grocery Store”) with multiple levels for children to explore.
  • Collections: An expansive set of illustrated objects and concepts arranged in categories called “collections.”
  • Picture Dictionary: A simple dictionary for very young children with words defined by picture only. As in all other WILD components, human-voiced audio is also included for each word, and each word is linked with its entry in the larger dictionary, the Book.

The WILD Display

The component tabs 

At the top of the display are tabs that give access to the top levels of each of the four WILD components (as shown in the screenshot below).  No matter where you are in WILD, you can always click on one of the blue tabs at the top of the screen to go to the starting level of any of these four components.

The main display

The center area of the screen, “the main display,” offers simple, visual ways for children to browse and explore in WILD. In the World, children click on settings in the main display to enter those settings and explore what is there. In the Collections, children first click on a choice from the visual/textual menu and then browse through the selected collection by sliding the strip at the bottom of the screen or clicking from one popped-up item to the next. In the Book, children can browse through the dictionary by electronically turning the pages, and, in the Picture Dictionary, children can scroll through the pictures using the sidebar or clicking the navigational arrows.

The search box and the sidebar

The simplest and most direct route to a word in WILD is the search box. If you have a particular word you want to focus on, you can simply type it in the search box, which is always found in the upper left corner of the page. If the word is contained within the learning environment that you are currently in—the Jungle in the World, for example—the result will be highlighted there. If it is not contained in that environment, the word will come up from the Book.

Below the search box, the sidebar in each WILD component allows for more structured, textual browsing.  The sidebar is an excellent tool for teachers to quickly find words, settings, and collections they wish their students to focus on. Teachers will likely use the sidebar as their primary means of navigating the site.

At the top of the sidebar, there are two tabs: Explore and A-Z. The sidebar tab labeled “Explore” displays a table of contents for the WILD component you are presently in, or shows ways of filtering the contents of that component. If you are in the World, the sidebar shows the menu of the places (“settings”) where you can go and all the items that can be found in each place. In Collections, it shows a menu of all the various top categories and collections, and a list of all the individual items in each. And in the WILD Book, it shows a menu of features by which you can filter the dictionary list so that you can see only those entries containing a desired feature—only words that are adjectives, for example, or only words that have animated illustrations in their entries.

The tab labeled “A-Z” in the sidebar gives access to an alphabetical list of all the individual words that can be found in the particular WILD component that you are currently in.

The footer: ways to customize the display

The footer in the WILD display gives various options to control and customize the learning environment.

Language options: While English is the default language for WILD, you can choose to add Spanish or Chinese by clicking on the respective language icon. Clicking once again will turn the selected language off. (English can be turned off as well. However, if English is turned off, it will need to be turned on again in order to turn off Spanish or Chinese.)

Labels: The default view for World and Collections shows individual items labeled in their settings or collections. Word labels can be turned off or turned back on by clicking the Labels icon in the footer.

Album View: Album View takes the individual labeled images out of a Collection or a World setting and displays them against a plain, white background as in a photo album. (The images are presented in alphabetical order.) Album View can be helpful in focusing students’ attention on particular items that are being taught or discussed. Clicking the Album View icon turns the view on or off. Clicking the close box also returns you to the setting or collection that you came from.

Games: In World and Collections, you will see a games icon in the footer. Clicking on the games icon will activate vocabulary games using the words of the particular collection or setting you are in.

Full screen: Full screen view hides the sidebar. The sidebar is primarily for teachers to use for searching and browsing when planning a lesson or activity or when guiding a lesson. When children are using WILD to explore on their own, full screen view can help them concentrate. Full screen view with labels off can also be used for fun and informal quizzing.

Audio tooltips and tooltips language: Audio tooltips can help a child who can’t read yet to explore WILD easily. When audio tooltips are on and a user mouses over an icon anywhere in WILD, an audio explanation about the icon will play automatically. In the footer, the audio tooltips icon looks like a musical note. The icon next to it in the footer—the wrench—can be used to change the tooltip audio language to Spanish or Chinese.