In English From the Roots Up, Greek and Latin words are the foundation for vocabulary study in the broader sense of word derivations. Children are unlikely to find the majority of the vocabulary words they learn here in their everyday reading, but they will be well prepared for new vocabulary they’ll encounter in high school and college. Even more important than the actual vocabulary words they learn is the skill children develop in analyzing new words they encounter and being able to figure out their meanings.
Each lesson begins with one Greek or Latin word, teaches its meaning, then gives children a list of from three to ten English words derived from the root word. For example, lesson ten introduces the Greek word kinesis meaning movement. The lesson then teaches five words derived from kinesis: kinetic, kinesiology, kinescope, cinema, and cinematographer. The words photos (light) and graph (write or draw) were introduced in the first two lessons, so children are connecting the last word to two Greek words they have already learned. This can create a picture in students’ minds of someone who can “draw” with “moving light,” making it easier for children to understand that a big word like cinematographer refers to the person who decides how to compose the scenes that he wants a movie camera to capture. Children each need a set of 100 cards, one for each lesson. Each card has the Greek or Latin word with a border of green for Greek words and red for Latin words. On the reverse are the derived words and their meanings. You can purchase sets of pre-made cards or make them along with your students.
The goal is similar to that of Vocabulary from Classical Roots (also reviewed in this book) although the vocabulary words here are less commonly used than those in Vocabulary from Classical Roots. This program requires teacher presentation and interaction. Instead of a workbook, index cards (or purchased sets of cards), a file box, and a good dictionary are the primary learning tools.
The program might be used with students from middle elementary grades through college, but I think junior high through high school the best time to use it.
Actual teaching information provided is brief but loaded with activity suggestions. The teacher is on his or her own to implement the ideas. Here are some examples of activity ideas: for the root graph, a number of related words are presented with accompanying ideas: “Telegraph—Let someone present a research report on Thomas Edison’s early days as a telegrapher. Let someone do a report on Morse code and give a demonstration of it.” “Lithograph—Discuss the process of lithography and talk about Currier and Ives. Their lithographs are still used every year as Christmas cards. Make potato or linoleum block prints.” These activity ideas could be turned into great unit studies. This resource is especially suited to the creative teacher who prefers general guidelines rather than detailed lesson plans.
A second volume is also available. It targets a slightly older audience, so it makes a good follow-up to the first volume. It teaches an additional 100 Greek and Latin root words with new activities and teaching notes.