The great news about today's young adult literature boom is that teens are not just reading, they are reading insatiably. Using Vocabulary.com, teachers can turn the reading students are already doing into academic gains.
Teachers: How many times does this happen? You pass out copies of an engaging news story, assign your students to read it for homework, and then lead a spirited 10-minute discussion of the article at the beginning of class the next day. If your answer is "Not often enough," you are not alone.
It's almost the end of 2015, and a new frontrunner for Euphemism of the Year has emerged. In a Department of Justice press release, Attorney General Loretta Lynch wrote, "The Department of Justice is committed to giving justice-involved youth the tools they need to become productive members of society."
As Shakespeare put it, "Wow."
Following a Wall Street Journal
article poking gentle fun at a movement to strike overused words such as good
, and nice
from student writing, Slate Senior Editor Gabriel Roth warned that a "reasonable pedagogical technique" had morphed into "perverse and deadly totalitarianism." For middle school English teachers, we suggest some middle ground.
In 1948, the American journalist and language chronicler H.L. Mencken wrote an essay for The New Yorker
, "Video Verbiage," in which he analyzed the lingo of the fledgling medium of television. Several of the words he gathered are now obsolete: vaudeo
("televised vaudeville"), televiewers
(now just "viewers"), blizzard head
(an actress so blonde that the lighting has to be toned down). Others are with us still, including telegenic
Nearly 70 years after Mencken published his essay, television itself is undergoing a massive redefinition, and so is our TV lexicon.
A few days after high school senior Katelyn "Lyn" Leech posted a list she'd created from the Broadway hit Hamilton
using the Vocabulary.com list builder, her Twitter notifications went through the roof. She knew something was up, but it wasn't until she logged on that she saw what it was. Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) had tweeted Lyn's list to his large following.
I heard an interview on the radio the other day with Dan Price, CEO of Seattle-based credit card processing firm Gravity Payments. He's been in the news because of his decision to set the minimum salary for his employees at $70,000. What interested me in the interview was his use of pencil out,
a phrasal verb that was new to me. Lexicographers are to words like birders are to birds: when we spot one that's not on our life list we get very excited, even as others' eyes may glaze over.