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LinguaPhile, November 2007

An e-mail newsletter nurturing the development and enjoyment of English language arts at home and at school.

We welcome new subscribers from the annual conference of the International Dyslexia Association. If you had planned to order Hands-On English products -- on your own or through your school -- this would be a great time to do so!


It's Time for Your Grannie Annie Interview!

Enrich your holidays by learning more about your family history.

Now entering its third year, The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration invites students in U.S. grades 4-8 and homeschool and international students aged 9-14 to interview their family storykeepers and write a 275- to 500-word story about something they learn from their family history. The Grannie Annie encourages students to share their stories with their families and their communities -- and to submit the stories for possible publication in Grannie Annie, Vol. 3. At least ten stories in each of two age categories will be published in the 2008 anthology and on

You'll find all of the details about The Grannie Annie -- including guidelines and the required entry form -- at The website also includes tips to help with your interview, with your first draft, and with revision. In addition, a month-by-month calendar will help you meet the February 14 submission deadline. And you'll want to be sure to read the stories published in the first two volumes of Grannie Annie! Not only do the stories bring history to life, they also inspire more stories and provide excellent models for future submissions.
Submitting students' work to The Grannie Annie -- and possibly having students become published authors -- has never been easier!

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See Hands-On English at the Sharjah World Book Fair

Hands-On English will be exhibited in the Combined Book Exhibit booth at the Sharjah World Book Fair from December 5-14. If you will be attending this show -- or know someone who will be -- please bring Hands-On English to the attention of people looking for English language educational materials. (If you would like the booth number, which is not yet available from CBE, please request it by e-mail: .)

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Help with All Stages of the Research Paper

This site was recently brought to my attention:

I can't imagine a site that could be clearer or more complete. It takes students through the research process step by step -- from selecting a topic to evaluating their work. In addition to 21 tip sheets, the site includes concrete examples of such components as thesis statements, source cards, and note cards. The wealth of information is presented so that it helps rather than overwhelms.

This site is valuable not only for students and parents, but also for teachers. When teachers share this site with their students, they will increase their students' likelihood of success and will lighten their own burden as well.

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Help with Your Holiday Shopping

Consider doing some of your holiday shopping at . Not only can you order Hands-On English and its companion products, you can also read about dozens of Fran's favorite books and -- for most of them -- link immediately with her review of the book and with the page on where you can make your purchase:

Hands-On English would be a welcome resource for teachers, students (4th grade or older), or anyone who wants to improve skill with English. Learn more and place your order at or call 1-888-641-5353.

The Grannie Annie anthologies also make wonderful gifts -- for relatives, students, teachers, librarians, anyone! You can order at or by calling 1-888-641-5353. A comprehensive index (posted on the website) will help you find stories about the topics, time periods, or countries that most interest you. (If you have a business with a waiting room, consider getting a copy of Grannie Annie to share with your clientele.)

If you have questions, or call Fran at 1-888-641-5353. (Use this same number for phone and fax orders.)

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Quote of the Month: The Power of Writing

The pen is mightier than the sword.

--Edward Bulwer-Lytton, British writer and politician (1803-1873)

[Bulwer-Lytton was an early mentor and friend of Charles Dickens. His best-known writing is probably the novel opener "It was a dark and stormy night." That clause has sparked a number of writing contests, one of which bears Bulwer-Lytton's name.]

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Expand Your Vocabulary: jeechet

Do you recognize this 'word'? Focus on its sound rather than on its appearance. According to Dr. Goodword, "No other 'word' in the English language exemplifies the labyrinthine nature of the levels of grammatical rules and their interactions better than jeechet." Notice the seven steps by which Dr. Goodword traces the derivation of jeechet from a four-word sentence:

(You might also enjoy browsing Dr. Goodword's informative and entertaining website.)

Hands-On English includes more than 200 morphemes, along with their meanings and examples. Knowing the meanings of morphemes can help you unlock hundreds of words the first time you encounter them. Reviewers of Hands-On English have said that the vocabulary section alone is worth the book's modest purchase price. Learn more -- and place your order -- at

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Q and A:  important / importantly

Question: Which is correct as a sentence opener -- more/most important or more/most importantly?

Answer: Many references do not address this issue. The ones I've found that do, including the American Heritage Dictionary and, say that either important or importantly is acceptable in this situation. We could leave it at that.

For those compelled to analyze, however, I will add that importantly has a slight grammatical edge since adverbs typically function in such situations and adjectives do not. On the other hand, important has a slight edge for conciseness: If those two letters are not needed, why use them?

This is one issue over which you need not agonize; you can use whichever form you prefer.

Hands-On English will put a wealth of information at your fingertips so that you can quickly find what you need to know about grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and more. Get details -- and place your order -- at

We invite your questions for this feature:


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Review: Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson

If you want to increase people's knowledge about the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States -- and provide them with a model of perseverance -- Thank You, Sarah by Laurie Halse Anderson will perfectly fill the bill.

Did you know that in the early 1800s, before Thanksgiving was a national holiday, people celebrated Thanksgiving at different times -- or ignored it altogether? The holiday was in danger of dying out completely. Sarah Hale, however, believed not only that Thanksgiving should be preserved but that the entire nation should celebrate it on the same day.

Sarah Hale championed many causes. She favored education for girls, and she opposed corsets -- to name only two. Sarah set about to change the world by writing letters. (She was also the first female magazine editor in America, and she wrote poetry, novels, and biographies as well. She even wrote "Mary Had a Little Lamb," based on an experience she had as a teacher.)

In her campaign to have everyone in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving on the same day, Sarah wrote thousands of letters -- and she inspired thousands of other women to write letters, too. Her crusade continued for 38 years, and she appealed to five United States Presidents before Thanksgiving was made a national holiday.

Laurie Halse Anderson's lively story is perfectly complemented by Matt Faulkner's illustrations. The story is followed by "A Feast of Facts," four pages of additional information about the development of Thanksgiving traditions and about Sarah Hale and the time in which she lived.

In a way, Thank You, Sarah is a Grannie Annie story. Although it exceeds the prescribed word count and was written by an adult, it is a story written about a family member: Laurie Halse Anderson is a descendent of Sarah Hale.

Thank You, Sarah increases readers' appreciation of Thanksgiving, introduces us to an inspiring woman, and encourages us that our individual efforts can make a difference in the world.

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2002 (a picture book for ages 7 and up, including adults), 40 pages.

Available from Paperback   Hardcover

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Puzzler: Thanksgiving Cryptoquote

Each letter in the following quotation stands for some other letter. Each A represents the same letter, each B represents the same letter, etc. However, there is no relationship between the letter represented by one letter and the letter represented by another letter. (For example, if A represents S, there is no reason to think that B will represent T.) To solve this type of puzzle, look for patterns -- within words and within the sentence. Warning: Cryptograms can be addictive! If you want more cryptograms, check the LinguaPhile index:



Answer will appear in the next issue.

Answers to September Puzzler

Each of the following groups of letters will unscramble to make a noun. This puzzle has an added twist, however. Preceding the noun with an adjective will make a well-known phrase that could name the original jumble. You are given the first letter and the number of letters in the adjective. The solid blank is for the jumbled word.

Example: ustn

m _ _ _ _   __________

[mixed nuts]

 1. gsge

 2. rowd

 3. adrsc

 4. samgese

 5. untoccd

 6. pymanco

 7. trirenufu

 8. glatveeseb

 9. lushedec

10. aunttosii

s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   _____

m _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   ______

s _ _ _ _ _ _ _   ________

g _ _ _ _ _ _   ________

d _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   ______

m _ _ _ _   ________

r _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   ______

m _ _ _ _   ________

e _ _ _ _ _ _   ________

c _ _ _ _ _ _ _   ________

[scrambled eggs]

[misspelled word] 

[shuffled cards]

[garbled message]

[disorderly conduct]

[mixed company]

[rearranged furniture]

[mixed vegetables]

[erratic schedule]

[confused situation]


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Thank you for reading! If you find LinguaPhile helpful and interesting, don't keep it a secret! Consider which of your friends would also enjoy it, and send them information about subscribing. Those receiving this forwarded message can subscribe at . People who have e-mail but do not have Internet access can subscribe by clicking on this link and requesting to subscribe: .

We welcome your comments and suggestions:

The index to LinguaPhile, which is updated regularly, is available on the GrammarAndMore website: . This makes the information from previous issues readily accessible. You are encouraged to print the index for your convenience and to share it with friends. Why not send them the URL?

LinguaPhile is a gift you can give, yet still have for yourself!

Copyright 2007 Fran Santoro Hamilton


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