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LinguaPhile, May 2008

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


It's Time to Order Grannie Annie, Vol. 3!

Grannie Annie, Vol. 3, the latest publication of The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration, is now at the printer's! Each of these anthologies includes family stories written by young people after interviewing their family storykeepers.

Like the stories in the first two volumes, the twenty-six stories selected for publication in Volume 3 bring history to life and help readers connect with people in other places and other times, people whose lives may seem very different from their own.

You can read the stories online and get a peek at how the book will look: . We believe that the Grannie Annie anthologies are books you'll want to own -- so that you can read the stories again and again, and share them with others. You can order your copies of Grannie Annie on the Grammar and More website, on the Grannie Annie website, or by calling (toll free) 1-888-641-5353.

The Grannie Annie anthologies make wonderful gifts for family members, friends, teachers, senior citizens, libraries, literacy programs -- the list is endless! (Reading stories that have been accepted for publication is a great help to students who might want to submit a story to The Grannie Annie in the future.)

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Mother's Day

Flowers are nice. Going out to dinner is nice. But my experience is that a simple expression of love and appreciation is what mothers most treasure. For writing ideas for Mother's Day see .

Giving your mother a copy of Grannie Annie would provide an opportunity to learn more about her and about your family's history. Someone in your family might interview her and submit her story for Grannie Annie, Vol. 4!

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Teacher Appreciation Week

The first full week of May is annually designated as Teacher Appreciation Week -- and the first Tuesday of that week is National Teacher Day in the United States. Take this opportunity to express your appreciation to a current or former teacher.

Read about celebrities' most memorable teachers: .

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See Hands-On English at the NEA Convention

Hands-On English will be exhibited in the Combined Book Exhibit booth at the National Education Association convention from July 1 to 3 at the Washington (DC) Convention Center. If you will be attending this show -- or know someone who will be -- please bring Hands-On English to the attention of people looking for English language educational materials.

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Planning for the 2008-2009 School Year

If you are an educator in the throes of selecting curriculum for the 2008-2009 school year, consider providing your students with an English handbook that makes grammar visual. With no grade-level designation, Hands-On English works well with students fourth grade and older who are working to master the basics of English. It is currently used in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, and adult ed programs. When students have quick access to the information they need in order to use English correctly, they develop independence and confidence with the language -- making the teacher's job easier as well.

The Hands-On English program is on California's list of approved supplementary materials for English and for ESL. Therefore it is eligible for purchase with AB 1802 funds. To see a complete table of contents and a few sample pages from the handbook, click on the appropriate links at the bottom of this page: . To see how Hands-On English aligns with California ELD and ELA standards, open the appropriate file on this page: .

Volume sales qualify for substantial discounts. If you have questions about Hands-On English or about placing your order, call Fran at 1-888-641-5353.

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Good News About ABC: A Child's First Alphabet Book

If you have had difficulty finding Alison Jay's ABC: A Child's First Alphabet Book (reviewed in the September 2007 LinguaPhile), I have good news for you! The book is now available as a board book. It has all the charm of the original hardbound book -- plus pages sturdy enough to withstand all the use this book is bound to get.

Available from

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Quote of the Month: Passion

If an aspiring writer does not persevere, it's because writing is not his/her passion. Everyone should find his or her passion, then pursue that, whatever it is. . . . Or rather, once they find their passion, they should avoid forcing themselves not to pursue it.

--Harvey Stanbrough, U.S. writer (1952- )

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Expand Your Vocabulary: antinomy

Antinomy includes two Greek word parts: anti- means "opposite of" or "against"; -nomy means "distribution; arrangement; management." Familiar words containing this latter word part are astronomy, economy, and taxonomy.

Antinomy is "a contradiction between two statements, both apparently obtained by correct reasoning." Antinomies often occur in religion -- for example, the doctrines of God's sovereignty and man's free will. Another example of antinomy is the idea of Jesus being fully human and fully divine.

Hands-On English includes more than 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 .

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Q and A:  Help for Struggling Readers

Question: My son struggles with reading and can hardly wait for school to be out. Yet every summer he loses much of what he gained the previous year. How can I help him maintain his skills -- yet still enjoy his summer?

Answer: Indeed, enjoyment is a key factor in reading success (and in many other activities as well). All of us prefer to spend our time succeeding rather than struggling. And the more we practice many activities, the better we get at them. Reading is no exception.

Do everything possible to make reading enjoyable for your son. Help him find information on topics that interest him. (One book is likely to lead to another.) Don't worry if the books he's reading seem "too easy" for him. Don't worry if he isn't reading every word of a book and seems to be just "looking at the pictures." If he is engaged with the content, he will benefit. Try to involve your son in practical reading situations -- reading instructions, reading information to help make a decision, etc.

It is important that your son see you -- and other adults -- reading. If he sees that reading is valued by adults he respects, he will come to value it, too. You might ease him into a new book by reading the first part of the book with him or by providing helpful background material. You might also read a book on a related topic so that you two can pool your knowledge.

Reading is a very complex activity with many subskills. If your son has difficulty decoding (figuring out the words represented by the letters), be sure to help him develop his comprehension skills in other ways -- through oral activities, for example. Skills such as predicting, finding the main idea, inferring, and seeing relationships can be developed apart from a reading context.

For more specific suggestions for helping children develop their reading skills, see Fran's article "Improve Kids' Reading -- Even Without Books": .

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 .

We invite your questions for this feature:

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Review: Don't Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff

Don't Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff is likely to give you new insight on politics in the United States.

Lakoff, a linguist, says that each of us has "frames," mental structures that, unbeknownst to us, shape the way we view the world. A common metaphor giving rise to some of these frames is that the nation is a family. (We speak of "founding fathers," for example.) The main models of idealized family structure are the "strict father" family, where children are taught to be obedient, and the "nurturant parent" family (gender neutral), where children are encouraged to find fulfillment. Although each of us is aware of both models, one is likely to dominate. Sometimes a different model dominates in different situations, such as at home and at work.

Lakoff makes the case that these disparate models of the family underlie the difference between the political left and right, between progressives and conservatives, between Democrats and Republicans. Furthermore, these models -- or frames -- shape our values and affect which policies we support. They determine what we accept as "common sense." When we encounter facts that are contrary to the frames we live by, the frames predominate and the incompatible facts are disregarded. People tend to vote in accordance with their values and their identity, even when that means voting against their own self-interest.

The title of the book is taken from Lakoff's assertion that in order to successfully counter an opponent's platform, the issue must be reframed -- the terminology must be changed. In fact, the subtitle of the book is Know Your Values and Frame the Debate. When a person is told "Don't think of an elephant," it is difficult to think of anything else. Likewise, when an issue is attacked without being reframed, the original message is reinforced. We "think of the elephant."

Don't Think of an Elephant is a very accessible book, less scholarly than some of Lakoff's other works. It is likely to help readers understand why they -- and others -- believe as they do, and it might help them to more effectively articulate their views.

Published in 2004 by Chelsea Green Publishing. 124 pages.

Available from Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate

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Puzzler: State Nicknames

Prepare for your summer vacation -- or simply take an armchair tour. Match each nickname with its state.

 1. The Beehive State
 2. The Centennial State
 3. The Constitution State
 4. The Equality State
 5. The First State
 6. The Gem State
 7. The Golden State
 8. The Granite State
 9. The Last Frontier
10. The Natural State
11. The Ocean State
12. The Old Line State 
13. The Palmetto State
14. The Peace Garden State
15. The Silver State
16. The Treasure State
New Hampshire
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina

Answer will appear in the next issue.

Answers to November Puzzler




                   -- PQAAQMG   MTXUYT   PMTH

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. -- William Arthur Ward

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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 . People who have e-mail but do not have Internet access can subscribe by clicking on this link and requesting to subscribe: .

We welcome your comments and suggestions:

The index to LinguaPhile, which is updated regularly, is available on the GrammarAndMore website: . This makes the information from previous issues readily accessible. You are encouraged to print the index for your convenience and to share it with friends. Why not send them the URL?

LinguaPhile is a gift you can give, yet still have for yourself!

Copyright 2008 Fran Santoro Hamilton


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