Monday, November 21, 2011

Vocabulary in the Elementary Grades

Question: What is the key to learning ten, sometimes 20 new words at a clip?

Answer: Study vocabulary through Latin and Greek roots and affixes. Quotes: “The next quantum leap in vocabulary growth…will come when the systematic study of Latin-Greek derivations is embedded into vocabulary programs for the elementary…grades.” P. 135. “A Growing body of academic research is beginning to demonstrate the power and potential of a Latin-Greek approach to vocabulary instruction.” P. 138.

Quote: “Think of the enormous advantage we can give students when they learn that one root can help them unlock the meaning to 5, 10, 20 or more English words! Moreover, it is likely that a fair number of those words are the academic words so essential to students’ learning in the various content areas. The systematic, ongoing and consistent integration of Latin and Greek roots into vocabulary instruction offers awesome potential for enhancing students’ academic growth.” P. 140.

Comment: The best vocabulary book on the market for adults is Norman Lewis’s Word Power Made Easy. Look it up on and you’ll see the glowing reviews of ordinary people who have used it. Lewis bases his program on the Latin and Greek roots and on the notion that words are ideas. Try it yourself and see how many new words you will learn based on Latin and Greek roots. For common Latin and Greek roots for elementary school, check the list in this article. RayS.

Title: “The Latin-Greek Connection.” TV Rasinski, et al. Reading Teacher (October 2011), 133-141.

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