Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vocabulary Fun for Girls

Growing up I loved school. To this day, I love to learn. I so looked forward to sciences and math. I liked playing with my friends at recess and other breaks. I was excited about reading and enjoyed it when I actually kicked out a good piece of writing.

All this considered, I loathed one thing...vocabulary. I hated the assignment where we were given a set of words and had to write definition after definition and sentence after sentence. It got so bad my freshman year, I flat out told my English/speech teacher that I wouldn't do vocabulary anymore after seeing the first set of words for the school year.

Abhor was at the top of the list. It was a word that had appeared on the first list of the school year for the past two years. By year three of the same word list, I had enough. I refused to write 1 definition and 2 sentences yet again for this word. I abhorred the very idea of it.

I didn't want my children to have this type of experience. I know how important it is to expand our vocabularies, to learn and appreciate new words, but there has to be a better way than how I was taught. I wanted words to come alive, to be relevant for my kids.

My daughter happened upon a certain book series at the library, and at first glance I wasn't sure I'd like it. After reading a few, I find myself seeking them out and even adding them to our home library.

We love Fancy Nancy! The books are written in first person from Nancy's point of view. She uses "big words" and immediately defines them in a fun way. Her antics are so typical of my daughter, so we both get a good laugh out of them. The words she teaches in the book are words that easily fit into everyday conversation, so not only are little girls introduced to and given a definition of a new word, but it's something they can immediately start using without that awkwardness that often comes with trying to show off their newly learned skills.

"I adored visiting my neighbor Mrs. DeVine.
Here we are having tea on her veranda.
(That's a fancy word for porch.)"
 - Fancy Nancy and the Late, Late, LATE Night -

"Bree and I are the founding members of our club.
(That means we started it.) ...
First they have to prove they are mature enough.
(Mature is a fancy word for acting grown up.)"
- Fancy Nancy: Explorer Extraordinaire! -

*No copyright infrigement intended.

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