Vocab: Divide and Conquer

At a recent Webinar on vocabulary, the presenters mentioned that “research shows deep connection between vocabulary knowledge, reading comprehension,  and academic success.”

They also explained that “90% of English words with two or more syllables are Latin-based, and most of the remaining 10% are derived from Greek.” And that a single Latin root can generate anywhere from 5 to 20 words!

Best practices include the following:

An active study of word parts; focusing on the structural and semantic nature of words using using affixes and key word parts to link words to their meaning and context. I am using the book “Instant Vocabulary” by Ida Ehrlich.  Barnes and Nobles sells it for about $6. Be sure to use your teacher/homeschool discount for 20% off the purchase price.

“Instant Vocabulary” is 518 pages of prefixes, suffixes, and root words, and includes word analysis and practical exercises. This book may seem advanced for younger students, but words more suitable for their level can be picked out.

Another vocabulary building book I have used with great success is “Vocabulary Workshop” by Sadlier-Oxford. I like this book because it includes a lot of the best practices listed below; teacher’s don’t have to create any. And, the best thing is that the publisher has a website full of crossword puzzles, word games, etc ready to be printed and used.

Another best practice is to “engage students in multiple strategies” such as giving them many opportunities to use new words often. Give them chances to encounter new words both in print and orally (such as read alouds).

The presenters suggests that a student needs to use a word 3 times a day in order to make it a part of his learning arsenal.

Wordplay is another way to engage students. Use word sorts, scavenger hunts, word puzzles and riddles. Students can also incorporate new words into a writing assignment.

I have included a divide and conquer worksheet. You will find it in the printables. Make this sheet re-usable. Either laminate or put it inside a sheet protector.

Remember to include best practices to help your student/child build his or her vocabulary!

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