Rainbow Price: $35.00
Rarely has a book appealed more to me at first glance. Remaining uncluttered, the concept of "playing with words" is evident in the colorful, graphic font manipulations (lines of type that sway), the cute illustrations, and the lists wonderful, whimsical, but never wayward words. This is a book about choosing the right word when you write. I use the word "appealing" quite a bit, so I thought I would look through the lists in this book and find a new one. I quickly discovered that this little diction worktext did not include "appealing" in any of its lists (or at least not that I could find). That means that I could put it in a "my words" section on one of the list. Would it best go on the Cheerful Clown Fish page or the Exuberant Sea Otter page or perhaps under the Ways to Describe Appearance or the Ways of Speaking list?
Confused yet? This not-quite-a-vocabulary program, not-quite-a-thesaurus – it's all about discovering just the right word to use when writing. It features structured word lists organized around Character Traits, Ways to Describe, and Ways to Move with a few miscellaneous lists thrown in for good measure. Each list contains nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs. Students are encouraged to playfully interact with these lists with the goal of acquiring quality word choices to incorporate into their writing. Using games and family activities to become familiar with the layout and content of the book, students can then use it independently as they endeavor to interject more definitive word selections into their compositions. Interspersed throughout the book are "Quotes to Inspire Your Writing" taken from classic literature as well as biblical quotes designed to underscore whatever topic is the focus of that page's lists.
The suggested grade levels for this product indicate it should be used by emerging writers – those who need to find exactly the right word – as they practice their writing skills. Such a student might scan the Generous Manatee list looking for "ly" words (abundantly, bounteously, copiously), or strong adjectives (exorbitant, magnanimous, plenteous) or verbs (showered, bestowed) and feel quite empowered by the choices. However, I also think much younger children (upper elementary) could benefit from this book – becoming familiar with the lists, playing around with the words, etc. I can also easily imagine using this book myself as I seek alternatives to my overused word choices.
At less than 100 pages, one might think this spiral-bound volume by Loranna Schwaeofer published by IEW is a bit pricey. Although it is reproducible for one homeschooling family or classroom, some of the colorful charm will be lost. Also, each student may want to personalize his own well-worn copy. The fact is, I know of nothing else quite like it – an opportunity to build one's vocabulary, a tool for strengthening one's ability to write with style, and a delightful immersion into the world of words. ~ Janice