Stories of Words aims to develop students' interest in interesting words (e.g., snickerdoodles, terrapin, scuba). The texts in Stories of Words use the TExT model—the same model that underlies all TextProject products (e.g., FYI for Kids) and commercial products (e.g., QuickReads). That means that reading the texts also increases students’ exposure to the core vocabulary. Each book of the 16-volume series explores the vocabulary of a different topic such as food, movies, and acronyms.
Each topic falls into one of four methods of how words have been added to the English Language.
Every word has a history. Some of these histories, or origins, are quite surprising. Because people have come to the United States from countries around the world, many English words come from other languages. This is especially true for words about different foods.
The Native American groups in North America spoke languages that are very different from English. In addition, there may have been as many as a thousand different Native American languages. Often, Native Americans and settlers invented sign language that allowed them to communicate with each other. In that way, both languages grew and the people began to understand one another.
When things are invented, such as computers, new words are often created to describe them. Also, well-known words sometimes take on new meanings.
Abbreviations help people save time in writing often used words. Take a look at the most common abbreviations and how they are used. C how many U know!
Whether you play sports or you watch others play sports, chances are some of the everyday words you use came from sports. Want to see which ones they are? Okay, this is the book you'll want to read. Ready? Get set. Go!
Both the Chinese and Japanese languages have more than one system of writing. This means that there could be more than one way to write the word hello! Because the writing systems used in these languages are quite different from the one used in English, some words are spelled in a few different ways. This often happens when people try to spell a word from another language the way it sounds in their own language.
What’s your name? Maybe you were named for your mom or dad, or for someone else in your family. Many families name babies after an older relative to honor him or her and to carry on the person’s name. Sometimes places and things are named in this way, too—to honor a person or event, or to keep an important memory alive. Words like this, in which people’s names are used to form new words, are called eponyms. Eponym is a Greek word that means “to give one’s name to something.”
Since the earliest times, people have looked up to the stars and wanted to travel there. They saw birds flying and tried to build machines that would help them fly, too. Legends tell of people who used wax wings or kites to attempt to fly. These attempts, of course, did not end well.
Over hundreds of years, people built kites and boomerangs that were inspired by how birds glide through the sky. Only in the last few hundred years, though, did people have the technical skills needed to build flying machines. Once flying machines became real, new words were needed to describe them.
You may think that most of the Arabic words that came into English refer to animals and customs that are unique to countries in northern Africa and the Middle East, where Arabic is the primary language. But you’re in for some surprises, too. You might be using words with Arabic roots every day to describe the world around you.
Have you ridden a bike? Have you been a passenger in a boat, car, train, or airplane? If so, you’ve used transportation. When new forms of transportation are invented, we often invent new words to describe them or give existing words new meanings.
Many people like to wear the latest fashions. Fashion is a style of clothes, items, or ideas that is popular at the moment. Fashions change frequently. Words are needed to describe new trends. When those trends are no longer popular, people stop using the words. Like fashions, words, too, go into and out of style.
Music has its own set of words.
Some words are used in other areas of life, but have very specific meanings in music. These words include notes, staff, and scale.
Then there are words that are unique to the subject of music, such as aria.
Every day, millions of Americans are speaking Spanish. They are introducing Spanish words to the English language. Americans are speaking English words with deep Spanish roots. Or they are mixing Spanish and English words together and making new words. Whichever the case, Spanish is everywhere in the United States.
Putting words into groups can help us learn more words. For example, synonyms are a group of words that similar meanings. The word pretty is a synonym for the word beautiful. By knowing about the group, you can expand your vocabulary and knowledge about words. Words are labels for things and ideas. It makes sense that we have words to label groups of words, too.
Las Vegas. New York. Pie Town. Toponyms, or the names of places, are as different as the people who have named them. By learning the story of a toponym, you also learn the story of the people who lived in that place.
When computers were invented in the 1930s scientists created new words to describe the new machine. When computers became widely used by people, people began to change the words used to describe computers. Now that computers have made its way into every corner of the world, new words and definitions of old words are created with lightning speed.