“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” This famous quote is used to describe why it is important to teach skills to people –not just give them money for what they need. It is used in missions, soup kitchens, home provisions for the poor, and many other benevolent scenarios. One scenario in which this quote greatly applies (that we often do not think of) is in teaching students. We can hand the student skills and information and help him on that day to gain that particular knowledge. Or we can help him “learn how to learn”—and he will gain knowledge for himself over and over again throughout his life. This is especially true in the areas of vocabulary building. We can give students word lists, practice pages, and vocabulary books—and they can learn the words that are contained within those pages. Or we can teach him how to dissect passages, sentences, and words for himself—and he will learn how to figure out the meanings of words forever.


That is what the Definition Dissection packet is all about! It is a vocabulary product in which the six Definition Dissection tricks are taught in detail (with steps for carrying out each one): 1. Clue Words; 2. Parts of Speech; 3. Roots and Affixes; 4. Trigger Words; 5. Context; 6. Synonyms. Each trick is taught in a full page of steps and examples followed by a full page of enumerated steps and examples. Following the dozen pages of the six tricks, the product has a page of Roots and Affixes with words listed beneath each one. Following this, there are several pages of categorized words that are similar or related to each other.


From the forward:

“You know a lot more than you think you do! And you can use what you already know to unlock even more information. Definition Dissection (DD) is going to help you use what you already know to learn even more. When you read, especially if you read challenging books and materials, you probably come across words that stump you. When this happens, it is especially difficult to understand what you are reading. However, if you use one of the six tricks given below, you will learn how to learn. You will, in essence, teach yourself many things that you do not already know–or, at the very least, remind yourself of what you do know. So, when you come across an unfamiliar or completely unknown word in your reading, try using one of the Definition Dissection tricks listed below to unlock it.”


I am so excited to offer this product by itself as a stand-alone packet that students can use to unlock word meanings in context. It will open up a new world to students in the way that they look at unfamiliar words and phrases. It has helped hundreds of our students on standardized testing and in college.


You can purchase Definition Dissection now!


Get it here!



Whether you decide to purchase this and incorporate it into your school day or not, I hope you will take the time to watch the video in which my son and I explain all six of the tricks and how to use them with your students. (The slides are also available here to download.)


Blessings on your vocabulary and comprehension teaching!



Love and hope,



P.S. What tricks and tips do you use to teach your students comprehension of unfamiliar words and passages?


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