Amy's Reviews > Word Power Made Easy

Word Power Made Easy by Norman  Lewis
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Jun 01, 12

bookshelves: language
Read from August 04, 2011 to June 01, 2012

Norman Lewis knows how to teach vocabulary in a way that helps new words stick. In Word Power Made Easy, he does this in several ways:

1. New words are divided into thematic chapters that make it easy to draw connections between the words.

Some chapters are straightforward and closely connected, like "How to Talk About Doctors" or "How to Talk About Science and Scientists." Others are based on a part of speech, like verbs, as in "How to Talk About Actions" and "How to Talk About What Goes On." And some are just plain fun, like "How to Talk About Liars and Lying," "How to Insult Your Enemies," and "How to Flatter Your Friends."

2. He uses etymology as the scaffold to help build a knowledge of many related words simultaneously.

After introducing the basic words for each section, he discusses the word's roots and teaches many words with the same origin. It makes it easy to remember the new words' relationships to each other. My two favorite etymologies were both words derived from the Greek root phanein, to show. The first, the word sycophant, also derives from Greek sykon, a fig, and literally means a "fig-shower." As the book explains, "When a fellow wants to get a good mark, he may polish up an apple and place it on a teacher's desk; his classmates call such a lad an apple-shiner. Less complimentary localities use the term bootlicker." Now when I think of sycophant, I picture a Greek schoolboy with a fig, and the word has stuck. The second, the word diaphanous, uses phanein, to show, with dia-, which means through. Thus, something that is diaphanous shows through, or is practically transparent.

3. All words are reviewed multiple times in exercises throughout the book that use a variety of ways to measure recall and understanding.

You can't get by with merely memorizing a definition for many of the exercises. You really have to comprehend the word and its relation to its synonyms and antonyms.

I just completed this book as part of homeschool high school English for my two oldest daughters. I will use it again with all my six children, as I rate it first among all vocabulary-building books we have ever used.
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message 1: by Ritesh (new) - added it

Ritesh Bhagwati great review.


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