Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Weighty Words

The last time I read to our middle school students, I first wanted to have an exchange with them on new words and how they make it into their lexicon. I asked them to tell me some of the newest words that they have heard and with some hesitation one student said, “hoodie,” then another said, “rap [music].” I replied, “That’s the idea.”

I then read from the book
A Century of New Words that describes the evolution of words decade by decade throughout the 20th Century. For example, the advent of aviation spawned hundreds of words that never existed before the Wright brothers made their amazing discovery.

Finally, I read from a book that I presented to each graduate at graduation.
The Weighty Word Book by Levitt, Burger, and Guralnick presents an alphabet of SAT-type words with a unique story attached to each to help the reader remember its meaning. From among “coruscate,” “ingratiate,” “ubiquitous,” and others, I chose to read the story for “quixotic.”  

My hope is that the next time they hear the word "quixotic," they will remember its definition along with the other words that are defined through a story.

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