Learning Vocabulary with Prefixes and Suffixes

A prefix is a group of letters attached to the beginning of a root or word (or even group of words) serving to modify and/or extend meaning. Prefixes generally have an easily understood meaning in and of themselves, which they apply to the root word to which they are affixed. For example, “un” is a [...]

That Crazy English…Idioms, Oxymorons, and Onomatopoeia

One of the most fun parts of teaching English to students is by letting them discover figurative language.  Figurative language is any speech that is not meant to be taken literally.  Students in traditional classrooms and ESL classrooms will enjoy learning about three of the most interesting types of figurative language in English: idioms, oxymorons, [...]

Learning Vocabulary with Rhyming Words

Who doesn’t like a riddle, right??  Riddles stretch our brain muscles and make us think in “outside-the-box” kind of ways.  One of many children’s favorite kinds of riddles are the ones that lead to rhyming pairs of words.  Often called “Hink Pink” (one syllable) or “Hinky Pinky” (two syllables), or “Hinkety Pinkety” (three syllables) these [...]

Building Vocabulary in Context

If I overhear a part of a conversation at the next table in a restaurant where a woman says she pushed her brother off the bridge, I am likely to want to call the authorities.  But if I had heard the part of the conversation before that, I would know that she and her husband [...]

Learning Root Words with Games

My dad was an English teacher and was obsessed by words.  It wasn’t unusual for us to be walking along a sidewalk or down a store aisle when he would suddenly turn to me and ask me if I knew the root word of the word “obligingly.”  Not knowing that this was unusual in the [...]

Building Vocabulary with Homophone Games

Do you have a particular homophone weakness?  You know…a pair of words that you can’t ever seem to remember which one to use when??  Mine is most definitely the homophone pair hangar and hanger.  I am NEVER sure which one holds clothes and which one holds airplanes.  Maybe you have more than one set that [...]

Building Vocabulary with Compound Words

Compound words can be surprisingly fun for students to study. (A compound word is made when two or more words are joined – – with or without a hyphen – -  to form a new word and subsequently, a new meaning.) Don’t miss this opportunity to really engage your students.  One school has annual Compound [...]

Building Vocabulary with Parts of Speech Games

If you ever had even one classroom lesson on diagramming sentences, then you probably feel the sudden urge to run – – far, far away – – when you hear the phrase “parts of speech”.  But the truth is that understanding the parts of speech and how they fit together makes writing and reading make [...]

Building Vocabulary with Contractions Games

Human beings can get a bit lazy when it comes to speech.  Over time, we have figured out that we can create “shortcuts” in our everyday language that say what we want to say in a shorter amount of syllables.  This is true not just for English, but for many other languages as well. In [...]

Building Vocabulary with Syllable Games

Do you remember the “clapping game” from elementary school?  The teacher would write a word on the chalkboard and the class would clap out the syllables in that word.  It was a fun and common sense introduction to the individual sound units within a word. As the basic unit of written and spoken language, syllables [...]