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LinguaPhile, August 2003

A monthly e-mail newsletter nurturing the development and enjoyment of English language arts at home and at school.

IN THIS ISSUE . . .

Happy Anniversary to Us!

LinguaPhile is now beginning its fourth year. Did you know that three full years of LinguaPhile are archived (and indexed!) on the GrammarAndMore website? See the index at http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/edu/archive/index.txt Access the archive from http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/edu/archive/archiveindex.htm

Please continue to forward these newsletters -- or information about them -- to anyone you think might be interested.

And please keep your own e-mail address current. Each month some subscribers are lost because they change their e-mail address without updating their subscription or they install a spam filter without ensuring that newsletters will be accepted. If you have Internet access, you can subscribe a new address at http://www.GrammarAndMore.com (upper right-hand corner of the page). If you do not have Internet access, please click on this link and send an e-mail message explaining how your address should be changed:
mailto:LinguaPhile@ GrammarAndMore.com.

If you use a filter, please be sure that you can receive mail from LinguaPhile@GrammarAndMore.com. If you also subscribe to "Acu-Write," be sure that you can also receive mail from Acu-Write@GrammarAndMore.com.

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Spoonerism Month

August is Spoonerism month. A spoonerism is an expression resulting from the transposition of the initial sounds of two words, such as lack of pies for pack of lies. Usually this transposition is accidental. This term is named for William A. Spooner (1844-1930), an English clergyman noted for such tips of the slongue. Enjoy more spoonerisms -- and other kinds of wordplay -- at http://fun-with-words.com/spoonerisms.html. Wish your friends a happy moonerism spunth at http://www.123greetings.com/events/spoonerism_day/

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Preparing for the 2003-2004 School Year

If you're a teacher -- or have school-age children -- let Hands-On English help you through the school year. It's a great reference for students fourth grade and older. They'll be able to find and understand information about capitalization, punctuation, usage, sentence structure -- and much more. This is information they'll use whenever they write -- in any subject.

Teachers, it's not too late to order a copy of Hands-On English for each of your students. Substantial discounts are available on quantity purchases. http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/product/hoe.htm

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Hands-On English would make a wonderful back-to-school gift for

  • any student 4th grade or older
  • anyone who teaches English at any level
  • a student teacher or beginning teacher (in any subject)
  • a homeschooling family
  • people learning English as an additional language
  • people trying to strengthen basic skills in order to improve their employment options

http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/product/hoe.htm

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"For School Success, Don't Coddle Your Kids"

Whether you're an educator or a parent, you'll find these two dozen tips helpful in promoting a successful school year for students. Find the printable version at http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/tips/printschool.htm. If you're an educator, you might want to give this to parents at back-to-school night. If you're the parent of a school child, use the article yourself and share it with your friends.

Some of the tips apply to homeschoolers, and some of them are things that should be done prior to the opening of school (such as returning to the school-year sleep schedule). You're welcome to reproduce and distribute the list to colleagues, parents, anyone.

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Quote of the Month: Reading

Resolve to edge in a little reading every day, if it is but a single sentence. If you gain fifteen minutes a day, it will make itself felt at the end of the year.
-- Horace Mann, U.S. educational reformer (1796-1859)

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Expand Your Vocabulary: exegesis

Exegesis [ek suh JEE sis] is a noun meaning "a critical explanation or informed interpretation of a text, especially Scripture." You might recognize the ex- prefix, meaning "out." Exegesis brings "out" the meaning. The plural, as with other words ending in -sis, has an -ses ending: exegeses [ek suh JEE seez]. Here are some correct uses of the word:
The minister's exegesis of the passage made it clear to me.
Exegesis enhances a piece of literature for some people -- and ruins it for others.

Hands-On English includes nearly 200 morphemes, along with their meanings and examples. Knowing the meanings of morphemes can help you unlock hundreds of words the first time you encounter them. Reviewers of Hands-On English have said that the vocabulary section alone is worth the book's modest purchase price. Learn more -- and place your order -- at
http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/product/hoe.htm

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Q and A: Web Site or Website?

Question: Which is correct -- Web site, web site, Website, or website? Should this be one word or two? Should it be capitalized?

Answer: This word has evolved in record time, reflecting the rate at which the World Wide Web has become a vital part of our society. The term began as two words with a capital W: Web site. Today you might see the term any of these four ways. Most recent dictionaries probably show it as web site. That's how it is shown in the most recent edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the publisher has announced that usage has evolved to the point that website is clearly accepted, and that is the spelling their next edition will show.

Hands-On English will put a wealth of information at your fingertips so that you can quickly find what you need to know about grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and more. Get details -- and place your order -- at http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/product/hoe.htm

We invite your questions for this feature: mailto:Fran@GrammarAndMore.com

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Principles to Guide Language Arts Instruction

It seems that teachers face increasing demands -- often with decreasing time in which to meet them. The language arts area, encompassing reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking -- each with its own set of subskills -- is especially likely to become a source of frustration for the conscientious teacher. Where do the priorities lie? How should time be allocated?

Adopting a few basic guidelines can help a teacher decide which activities to include in a class. An overriding principle can be Keep the focus on communication -- on the actual transmission of ideas, whether written or oral. If subskills, such as decoding, punctuation, etc., are seen as means to that end rather than ends in themselves, they are less likely to become busywork or tedious drill.

Here are some specific principles to guide reading instruction.

1. Keep the focus on comprehension.

2. Be sure students develop strategies for decoding unfamiliar words.

3. Show students that reading is valuable and enjoyable. (The more students enjoy reading, the more they'll read; the more they read, the better readers they'll become; the better readers they are, the more they'll want to read. It will become an upward spiral of success.)

4. Encourage a variety of reading experiences. Exposing students to a variety of genres will not only present them with different kinds of reading material, it will also help them develop different skills and provide opportunities to apply different techniques. For example, consider the different strategies a reader uses in reading a poem, a novel, a textbook, a graph, an index.

5. Encourage students to become active readers -- to think as they read, to interrelate their reading and their experience, to share their ideas with each other.

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Help for the Reluctant Reader

The previous article mentions an "upward spiral" (Point #3). Unfortunately, the downward spiral is all too familiar: Many people don't like to read because they aren't good at it; therefore, they don't read, and their skills decline even further.

Parents and teachers can gently lead students to reading. In addition, they can nurture some comprehension skills even apart from reading. Ensuring that students develop these thinking skills, even though they are having difficulty with decoding, will help them enjoy books -- and might serve to jump-start their reading.

For a list of specific strategies, see "Improve Kids' Reading -- Even Without Books": http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/tips/printread.htm

Despite all of the talk in the United States about the importance of literacy, students continue to perform poorly on standardized tests, and adult illiteracy continues to rise. U.S. News has predicted that in the next decade America will have "an elite literate class of no more than 30 percent of the population." To read more about adult literacy in the United States, see the December 2001 LinguaPhile: http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/edu/archive/issue17.htm#facts

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Review: Drawn into the Heart of Reading by Carrie Austin

Drawn into the Heart of Reading is a multi-level approach to reading instruction. It enables students at different levels to study the same literary concepts simultaneously, using books of their (or the teacher's) choice. This can be ideal in a homeschool situation -- and also in school classrooms -- where reading levels often span several grades.

The program, which serves grades 2 through 8, comprises a teacher's guide and three student books (grades 2-3, grades 4-5, and grades 6, 7, and 8). It can be used as an entire reading program or as a supplement. The program developed naturally from author Carrie Austin's background. She has eleven years of classroom experience teaching grades 3-7 and now teaches her three children at home.

Drawn into the Heart of Reading provides the ultimate combination of structure and flexibility. The program is divided into nine genre units: biography, historical fiction, mystery, non-fiction, realistic fiction, adventure, fantasy, folk tale, and humor. The units may be studied in any order. The teacher's guide includes twenty days of lessons at three levels for each unit. Pre-reading activities, guided literature discussion, vocabulary activities, and creative projects are included. Austin also focuses on a godly character trait in each unit of study.

The great variety of activities in this program meet the needs of students with a variety of learning styles. The program also provides much integration of reading and experience. For example, the kick-off to the biography unit might involve various aspects of family history. Austin offers a sample book list for people who would like suggestions of literature to use with the program; however, she emphasizes that there are many other possibilities.

Drawn into the Heart of Reading indeed provides a fresh, welcome alternative to reading instruction. It seems conducive to nurturing lifelong readers.

Published by Priority Publications
http://www.prioritypublications.org

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Mixer Activities

Here are a couple of activities that provide a structure for people to get acquainted. The activities can be used effectively in a classroom -- or wherever a new group is forming. The second activity is more open-ended than the first and requires more of participants.

Through conversation, participants identify members of the group who could accurately be described by certain phrases, such as "has a stamp collection." For more details see the August 2000 LinguaPhile:
http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/edu/archive/issue1.htm#classroom

Through conversation, participants try to find a "common bond" with each member of the group. For example, two people may discover that each has a cousin in Chicago. For more details see the August 2001 LinguaPhile:
http://www.GrammarAndAore.com/edu/archive/issue13.htm#mg

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Puzzler: Anagrams

An anagram is a word that includes the same letters as another word. For example, time and mite are anagrams of each other. Each of these items has an anagram that is virtually its synonym. For example, dormitory is an anagram of dirty room. (Note: New anagrams will not include the punctuation marks. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of words in the new anagram.)

  1. moon starer (1)
  2. they see (2)
  3. partial men (1)
  4. Tokyo (1)
  5. tender name (1)
  6. It eggs us on. (1)
  7. restore plush (1)
  8. no city dust here (2)
  9. name for ship (2)
  10. no wire unsent (2)

Since the July Puzzler consisted of open-ended challenges, there are many right answers.

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Thank you for reading. If you find LinguaPhile helpful and interesting, don't keep it a secret! Consider which of your friends would also enjoy it, and send them information about subscribing. Those receiving this forwarded message can subscribe at http://www.GrammarAndMore.com . People who have e-mail but do not have Internet access can subscribe by clicking on this link and requesting to subscribe: mailto:LinguaPhile@GrammarAndMore.com .

We welcome your comments and suggestions: mailto:LinguaPhile@GrammarAndMore.com

The index to LinguaPhile, which is updated monthly, is now available in either a text or .doc format on the GrammarAndMore Web site:
http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/edu/archive/archiveindex.htm
This makes the information from previous issues readily accessible. You are encouraged to print the index for your convenience or to share it with friends. Why not send them the URL of the text version?
http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/edu/archive/index.txt
It's a gift you can give, yet still have for yourself!

© 2003 Fran Santoro Hamilton

 

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