Wondering Wednesday: Summer Reading Help for Young Students

Summer Reading Help for Young StudentsDonna Reish, curriculum author and parenting/homeschool speaker, answers readers’ questions about bringing an elementary student up to grade level in reading during the summer. In this episode, Donna helps parents learn what to focus on in bringing their child to reading fluency, including terminology, phonics programs, reader selections, and steps in helping children learn to read during the summer school break. She has many links to help parents find the phonics program, readers, and methods that will work best for them and their children.


Click here to download the printable handout.

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Wordy Wednesday: Homo (same); phone (sound)

We tell our students all the time that you know more than you think you know! And that if you take what you already know and apply it to what you do not know, you will soon know even more!

Take the word homophone, for instance.
Homo—means same
Phone—means sound
Thus, homophones sound the same what you hear them. Homophones are words like their, they’re, and there and to, too, and two—words that sound the same when they are spoken but only look different when written. 

I tell my students that homophones “sound” the “same” when you are talking on the phone (and all you can do is hear–you can’t see the words written–either how they are spelled or in context).

We will do a lot of “word dissecting” on LL 365! That is something we begin teaching early in our curricula as it can unlock the meanings of so many words—and helps everybody learn to take what they already know and add it to what they are trying to learn.

Strengthlessnesses—Longest Word With One Vowel

Wordy Wednesday!

Welcome to Wordy Wednesday! Did you know that strengthlessnesses is the longest word containing only one (albeit very repeating) vowel? Neither did I. And I don’t really care for it. I mean, it is cumbersome to say–and that is a whole lot of e’s and s’s to remember to spell the crazy word.

But I love unique and unusual–and strengthlessnesses is definitely both of those! Here are some vitals about this “longest word containing only one (albeit very repeating) vowel”:

1. It is a noun–did you know that when a word ends in ness, it is almost always a noun? This helps with standardized testing greatly. Ness words are nearly always nouns, so in a “fill in the blank” type of assignment, if the word in question ends in ness, it has to go in a spot where a noun fits.

Tricky Trick to Help It Stick: We have students learn key words to remember things. For instance, to remember that ness words are nearly always nouns, memorize a key word or two that you know is a noun and that ends in ness.

Other ness nouns: happiness, hopefulness, craziness, gratefulness, joyfulness, smartness

2. It has to do with having strength–we teach our students to think about what you already know–anytime–but especially when approaching a new word. Is there anything about the word strengthlessnesses that you already know?
     a. You know what its base means. You already what strength means!
     b. You know that less means less or not having that quality. (We do a lot of root and affix studies here!)
Because of those two “things you already know,” you can know that strengthlessnesses has something to do with not having strength (i.e. less strength).

Note: You know more than you think you know! Repeat this over and over to yourself: “I know more than I think I know. I know more than I think I know.” Use what you know to learn more!

3. It can be spelled syllable-by-syllable (if you are a biphonic man or biphonic woman!): strength-less-ness-es.

4. You can also make up a trick to remember how to spell it, such as “It contains four e’s and six s’s. Or that it has four syllables–which tells you that it will have at least four vowels in it (or y’s acting like vowels)–because a syllable always contains at least one vowel. A vowel is what makes a syllable!

5. You can learn the variations of this word–because you can remember from your vocabulary studies with Language Lady that suffixes (affixes added to the ends of words) might change the SPELLING of the base word (pity is changed to piti in pitiful) but does not change the MEANING of the base word. Even with three suffixes added (less, ness, and es), the base word of strength still means strength.
             a.  stengthless–adjective meaning without strength (less words are often adjectives!)
             b. strengthlessly–adverb meaning without strength (ly words are often adverbs)
             c. strengthelessness–a noun describing someone or something that is without strength (ness words are often nouns)
            d. strengthlessnesses–a noun that means more than one someone or something that is without strength (es makes the word plural).

So there you have it–the longest word with only one repeating vowel. Did you know that you could learn so much from one word? You know a lot more than you think you know! Smile…


Know How You Learn

Recently, my son and I were meeting about our novel. Joshua started to describe the changes he thought we should make to a particular scene and told me I could just jot down whatever I thought I needed to. I told him to hold on for a minute while I got a blank sheet of paper, then I promptly did the following:

1. Numbered each note as he spoke
2. Put sub notes under the note with the character’s initial and the motivational changes that Joshua thought we needed (M: Needs to begin this scene….)
3. Drew arrows to and from things as he spoke

Then when I was ready to rewrite that scene, guess what I did? I typed those notes all up–complete with the numbering and sub-numbering, etc.

Why am I telling you this? If you are a student, pay close attention to HOW you learn. I could not have written from paragraph notes. I could not have written with a word or two for each point. I could not have written from my handwritten notes–I needed to type it up in order to further understand it.

Whatever you do as a student to learn tells you a lot about how you learn! Utilize this information for test preparation, writing projects, and more. And like I always tell my students: “You know more than you realize you know!”

Day 126: Wordy Wednesday—root TEN

I missed Wordy Wednesday, and it’s nearly time for another one! Keeping with our root word theme, today we are going to look at TEN and variations of it.
Definition: STRETCH or THIN
What words do we already know with this root? What can we know about each word—even if we do not know it before?
  1. tension
  2. extend
  3. tendency
  4. tendon
  5. tent
  6. distend
  7. intent
  8. tenable
  9. attention
  10. detention
  11. extent
  12. retention
  13. ostentatious
  14. malcontent
  15. potent

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