Word Voyage

An Adventure in Language

Posted on Apr 19 , 2018 by Whit Symmes

Each word in a sentence has a meaning, a part of speech, and a job. Some words team up with others to perform additional jobs. When working with students, it can be very helpful to analyze all of this information, to take on the whole “ecosystem” of a sentence at once. In this way students learn...

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Posted on Apr 04 , 2018 by Whit Symmes

You really have to hand it to the early explorers. They sailed most of the globe without the ability to accurately navigate (from Latin roots meaning "steer the ship"). They often had a pretty good idea of their latitude (north-south position), but the east-west position, the longitude, was mostly...

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Posted on Feb 12 , 2018 by Whit Symmes

It's no wonder that many words map back to rural life. For most of history, that's how life was. Words like pastoral and bucolic are commonly used to describe rural scenes. And there are others with rural roots that have taken on new meanings. In an earlier post I mentioned peculiar, "of one's own...

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Posted on Jan 09 , 2018 by Whit Symmes

No, these words do not share a common root, but they do all have something to do with feet. In fact, as English speakers we seem to be obsessed with feet. The words are everywhere! Let's start the investigation with, well, investigation. Did you know the root vestig comes from the Latin vestigium...

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Posted on Nov 30 , 2017 by Whit Symmes

We all know hyperbole is obvious and intentional exaggeration. But did you know it maps back to a Greek root meaning to throw? At the root level, hyperbole actually means "(that which) is thrown over." The root has a few different spellings and shows up in lots of words. For example, ball, "that...

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Posted on Mar 23 , 2017 by Whit Symmes

Every word has a story, and many of them are fascinating and fun to know. For example, let's roll back the time machine to the Middle Ages. You're a farmer heading to market, walking along with your ox Henry pulling the cart full of produce. Now, you love Henry, but he isn't exactly conversational,...

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Posted on Mar 22 , 2017 by Whit Symmes

Students benefit greatly from building their vocabularies, but what words should they study? Workbooks and lists can present lots of good words, and students often perform well on quizzes. But does this give them ownership of the words? A month later, will workbook words show up in their writing?...

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Posted on May 16 , 2016 by Eliza Kano-Bower

My parents, (Generation X) spent hours and hours in primary school learning grammar. They learned all about subject-noun agreement, prepositional phrases, sentence structure, etc. That knowledge prepared them for college and the working world. Then, in the years between their schooling and mine,...

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Posted on Apr 26 , 2016 by Eliza Kano-Bower

When I was in Middle School I learned vocabulary by practicing with flashcards. It felt like a boring but necessary part of my education. Some years I also had workbooks, which offered a slightly cooler angle on the same thing: rote memorization. It was just accepted that vocabulary instruction was...

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Posted on Apr 19 , 2016 by Whit Symmes
  1. Vocabulary Instruction Tied to the Curriculum Word Voyage provides hundreds of vocabulary lists from classic and popular titles, as well as a service to create new lists on request- from any subject area! The words are immediately relevant to the students and reading comprehension is improved!
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