“….help kids (and adults!) to tap into what we already know in order to unlock the unknown.”
Back to the idea that students (all of us, really) know a lot more than we think we know. And helping kids (and adults!) to tap into what we already know in order to unlock the unknown.
One of the best tips I can offer for this is to encourage kids constantly to look at any part of anything that they already know. In the case of vocabulary and comprehension, I encourage students to look at what they do know. The beginning of this, of course, is root words and affixes—or even parts of words.
Root words, and sometimes even syllables, have meaning. And we often already know meanings of bits and pieces that we can put together to gain more knowledge. (If you know a foreign language, you will have even more success unlocking unknown words or parts of words since much of our language is taken from other languages.)
How can you use this concept to help you or your students? When you come to an unfamiliar word, don’t assume that you do not know it. Look more closely at the word. (And help your kids to do the same—question them all the time: “What do you know about the ‘aqua’ part of aquamarine?” [Or even, “What do you know about the ‘marine’ part?”)
Discussing words (roots, affixes, etc.) should be a part of our daily discussion with our kids. Even if our kids go to school, we have to look at ourselves as our children’s first teachers. There are so many things that we can teach them casually—homeschoolers or not.
Last week in literature class, our son (Joshua, one of our TFT teachers) asked the students what words they knew that contained the prefix “pro,” meaning “for.” He got the usual answers—pro-life; prolific; pro-football, etc. And then his clever “little brother,” Josiah, said, “’Propane’—means that we are ‘for pain’!” Have fun with vocabulary building—and your kids will not forget it, for sure!
Tomorrow I will give you a list of roots affixes that we use in our language arts books that you can print off for yourself or your students. Happy reading—and comprehending! Smile…