Got Context?

What in the world does that mean? Context is one of the many skills readers use to figure out the meaning of unknown words. The words and sentences that surround an unknown word, its context, can help us understand a word’s meaning. Context can also help readers build a more complex understanding of a word’s [...]

Apostrophe or No Apostrophe? That is the Question.

Contractions, those bits of smashed together words, are tricky. Most contractions require an apostrophe to stand for the missing letters: don’t (do not), it’s (it is), or haven’t (have not). Some contractions don’t have an apostrophe: none (not one), shoulda (should have), wanna (want to), or outta (out of). Writing contractions can be difficult for [...]

Crosswords or Scrabble?

Do you love word games? I do! Among word nerds there’s often an argument about whether crossword puzzles or Scrabble are a better mental exercise. Not long ago, a team of researchers set out to test the brains of champion Scrabble players and crossword masters to see who was smarter. The results were just about [...]

Reading Strategies – Root Words

When students are learning to read, they encounter books filled with simple words, perfect for encouraging new readers with early success. Many of these consonant-vowel-consonant combinations simply need sounding out. Most kids will recognize these simple words when they hear them. Past this basic level of reading, however, readers begin to encounter words they don’t [...]

Organized Learning with Symbaloo

There are a lot of social media sites out there. Some sites are primarily for connecting with friends while others help you share ideas and interests with strangers. Symbaloo is a site we’ve recently discovered that’s a great organizer for students, educators, parents, and homeschoolers. Symbaloo users create webmixes like the one above. Each button [...]

It’s Summer- Let Your Hair Down!

Do you remember when idioms like “Let your hair down” were mysterious grown-up speak? Once you began to learn them it was like being invited into the club and knowing a special secret code. Guessing and learning idioms is great summer fun that keeps students’ brains active. And it’s not all fun and games, idioms [...]

Jump Start Science Vocabulary!

Do you want to give your K-2 students a head start on learning? Students don’t necessarily hear science vocabulary in everyday conversation, and unfamiliar vocabulary can make it difficult for students to take in science lessons and activities. When students are exposed to new vocabulary before the lesson, they can take in the words and [...]

Summer Is the Time to Play

Summer is a great time for active play at the beach, on a mountain, or around town on your bike, but summer has its quiet times, too. Sometimes it’s nice to just relax with a book, take a nap in the shade, or play a laid back game. Whether you’re hiding from the sun or [...]

Orange = Anaranjado

Have you ever wondered just how much of a language you’ve learned?     I’ve never studied Spanish, but I’ve picked up a few words here and there. In fact, I was amazed at how many I got right when I tried Fill It In: English Spanish Vocabulary. The game is simple, for each Spanish [...]

Do Opposites Really Attract?

Who’s to say? I’m not sure anyone really knows. Here’s one thing educators do know: identifying words that are opposites, or antonyms, helps students build their vocabulary and their understanding of the meaning of individual words. Antonyms are a great tool to help students develop more sophisticated vocabularies to use in conversation, reading, and writing. [...]