Stories of Words

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.

  1. Languages from other parts of the world.
  2. Themes that play a big part of our lives.
  3. Words that we’ve manipulated or reused to suit different needs.
  4. New words to describe new inventions or technological advances.

Download Stories of Words books by topic:

Linguistic Terms
New Inventions
Native AmericanFoodAbbreviationsMovies
SpanishMusicNym Word GroupsComputers


Browse Stories of Words books:

  • Stories of Words: Food

    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.

  • Stories of Words: Native American Languages

    The Native American groups in North America spoke languages that are very different from English. At one time, 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.

  • Stories of Words: Movies

    When things are invented, such as computers, new words are often created to describe them. Also, well known words sometimes take on new meanings. This is what happened when the first movies were created.

  • Stories of Words: Abbreviations

    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!

  • Stories of Words: Sports

    Batter up!

    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!

  • Stories of Words: Chinese and Japanese Words

    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.

  • Stories of Words: Names

    What’s your name? Maybe you were named for someone 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.”

  • Stories of Words: Flight

    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 centuries, though, did people have the technical skills needed to build flying machines. Once flying machines became real, new words were needed to describe them.

  • Stories of Words: Arabic

    Not all English words with Arabic roots are related to animals and customs. Many of these words, and others, are unique to Northern Africa and the Middle East, where Arabic is the primary language, but you’re in for some surprises, too. You may not realize that some of the words that you use every day have Arabic roots.

  • Stories of Words: Transportation

    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.

    Check out SummerReads: Bikes & Boards for more texts on transportation.

  • Stories of Words: Clothes

    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.

  • Stories of Words: Music

    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.

  • Stories of Words: Spanish


    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.

  • Stories of Words: Nym Word Groups

    Putting words into groups can help us learn more words. For example, synonyms are words with 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 to label groups of words, too.

  • Stories of Words: Toponyms

    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.

  • Stories of Words: Computers

    When computers were invented in the 1930s, scientists created new words to describe the new machine. When computers became widely used, people began to change the words used to describe computers. Now that computers have made their way into every corner of the world, new words and definitions of old words are created with lightning speed.