Middle and High School Vocabulary
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Gaining new words does much more than give students an edge on standardized tests. Vocabulary development is essential for unlocking better communication. Students who study vocabulary gain skills for better reading comprehension, as well as an improvement in their writing. When you “expand your knowledge of words and their meanings,” you open doors to success in many areas of life, including employment.
“Learning power increases as vocabulary skills sharpen.”
At least one course in vocabulary is essential for students during middle and high school both in preparation for college testing and for mastery of literary analysis and scholarly writing. Jensen’s Vocabulary is an easy to implement vocabulary course ideal for grades seven through twelve. The book serves as both text and workbook, with reproducible pages of roots and affixes for student reference.
This course focuses on understanding word roots for deciphering meaning, teaching both Latin and Greek roots and affixes with little reliance on other resources. The author discourages the use of a dictionary for lessons, instead recommending that students work to memorize root meanings to decode words. This is an extremely useful skill, enabling students to master unfamiliar words and decode them based on what they know. Repetition of words throughout each week increases mastery.
Jensen’s Vocabulary covers:
- how prefixes, suffixes and roots combine to make all kinds of words.
- how to figure out the spelling of a word by the parts that make it up.
- how to think in logical fashion about words and their meanings.
- a few roots that give you the keys to hundreds of words.
This course initially requires parental support to get students started, but then students can work through it independently at their own pace. In our homeschool, it took a few days for my son to understand the format of the lessons, and then he was able to pick it up on his own. A few pages of ‘teacher helps’ get you started, and each lesson follows the same format each week.
The suggested schedule covers one word list per week, with lessons A through D spanning four days, and a parent-created test on the fifth day. If students need to work through the lessons at a slower pace, the author also provides a suggested two-week schedule. Jensen’s Vocabulary can easily be incorporated into a full language arts course, because most lessons only take about fifteen to twenty minutes to complete. In all, there are thirty-six Latin word lists and eighteen Greek word lists, covering a full year to year-and-a-half of lessons. If the two-week schedule is desired, the course will span at least two years. Working through the lessons slowly and incrementally is the key to retaining and really learning the material, so students should not rush through this course just to get it done.
We have tried other vocabulary courses over the years, but Jensen’s seems to be the most comprehensive and consistent. Written by a Christian teacher, Jensen’s Vocabulary does not contain the evolutionary content found in other popular vocabulary curricula.