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An e-mail newsletter nurturing the development and enjoyment of English
language arts at home and at school.
We welcome new subscribers from the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators
conference and from the Missouri Romance Writers of America.
IN THIS ISSUE . . .
Take any and all opportunities to celebrate reading and young readers.
Whether or not you participate in Pizza Hut's Book It program, you might use
some of their suggestions for encouraging and extending reading:
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Enrich your holidays by learning more about your family's history.
Now entering its fourth 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's history. The Grannie Annie encourages
students to share their stories with their extended family and their community
-- and to submit the stories for possible publication in Grannie Annie, Vol.
4. At least ten stories in each of two age categories will be published in
the 2009 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 students with their interview, with their
first draft, and with revision. In addition, a month-by-month calendar will help
to keep everyone on track for the February 14 submission deadline. You'll want
to be sure to read the stories published in previous 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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The Teaching & Learning Center: Creative Resources for Quality Education (http://www.k12tlc.net)
provides a wealth of information for teachers, students, and families. The site
includes "Today in History" for all subject areas, and several alphabetical
indexes. The following page provides an introduction to the content of the site:
While some information is available to the general public, much is accessible
only to subscribers. However, K-12 TLC offers a free one-day pass so that anyone
can explore the site before deciding whether to subscribe. The modest
subscription fee is $2 a month for teachers or families, or up to $12 a month
for an entire school, including staff, students, and families.
In addition, K-12 TLC sends out free daily e-mail newsletters including a
quotation, a word of the day, "Today in History," tips for teachers, quizzes on
news stories, and more. Although some of this material is available only to
subscribers, this site has a lot to offer, much of it free to anyone.
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Jeff Rubin, founder of
Punctuation Day®, has created an assembly program -- Punctuation Playtime®
-- to help elementary school students appreciate punctuation and learn how to
punctuate correctly. Find out more about the program, see video clips, and read
educators' comments at
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Both oratory and the press were mentioned a lot in the recent
U.S.Presidential election. Although that context did not place the two in
opposition to each other, the following piece, which compares the roles of these
two media, might prove interesting.
This is the closing paragraph of a speech titled "Oratory," which recounts the
history of oratory from prehistoric days. The speech was delivered by E. I.
(Dan) Mason (Fran's grandfather) on the occasion of his graduation from Brooklyn
High School in Brooklyn, Iowa, in 1897. When Dan served in the Iowa State
Senate, from 1935 to 1938, he was known as one of the Senate's most colorful
The observations of a high school senior, 1897:
It has been suggested that the press will finally obviate the necessity for
oratory. The press is a mighty force in forming public opinion by reason of its
being constantly before the public, always present with its reasons assailing
the masses day after day with its propositions, but it never reaches a climax,
is never able to precipitate a cause, and is absolutely unable to accomplish
anything beyond the expressed wishes of the people. The press in a sense is a
follower, the orator a leader. And in the future as in the past whenever great
questions arise, the settlement of which means the onward march of the
procession of eternal progress, the great orator will be found leading the van.
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Consider doing some of your holiday shopping at
http://www.GrammarAndMore.com. 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 Amazon.com where you can make your purchase:
Hands-On English would be a welcome resource for teachers, students (4th
grade or older), families, or anyone who wants to improve skill with English.
Learn more and place your order at
http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/product/hoe.htm or call 1-888-641-5353.
The Grannie Annie anthologies also make wonderful gifts -- for relatives,
students, teachers, librarians, volunteers, 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,
mailto:Fran@GrammarAndMore.com or call Fran at 1-888-641-5353. (Use this
same number for phone and fax orders.)
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If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then is an empty
--Albert Einstein, German/U.S. physicist (1879-1955)
Quoted in A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder, reviewed
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A pleonasm is a redundant expression, such as "PIN number" (redundant because
PIN stands for Personal Identification Number), "ATM machine" (Automated-Teller
Machine machine), "exact same thing," "a.m. in the morning," "refer back," etc.
The Second Edition of Hands-On English, published in 2004, includes a new
section on conciseness -- as well as new sections on paragraph development,
decoding, and finding the main idea. Learn more -- and place your order -- at
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Question: How do you respond to students who challenge the need to study
grammar? My daughter is an excellent reader and even a strong writer, but she
sees no need to study parts of speech or sentence structure. I know that my
daughter won't need to diagram sentences as an adult. If she can read and write
well without a knowledge of grammar, could she be right that the study of
grammar is unnecessary?
Answer: Before I give my own ideas, let me share this quotation from B. J.
Chute, U.S. writer and educator who died in 1987. Her figurative language is
much more effective than my uninspired prose: "Grammar is to a writer what
anatomy is to a sculptor, or the scales to a musician. You may loathe it, it may
bore you, but nothing will replace it, and once mastered it will support you
like a rock." (This quotation is taken from I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like,
Here are my main reasons for believing the study of grammar to be worthwhile:
(1) As Chute suggests above, a solid knowledge of grammar can help people write
and edit with confidence. If they are not sure of the rules governing
subject-verb agreement, pronoun choice, etc., they are likely to spend much time
agonizing over a word choice that a person knowledgeable about grammar could
make in a second or two. You may say, "But that's usage, not grammar" -- and
you'd be right. However, an understanding of grammar is the foundation of
correct usage. For example, before you know whether you need to use a subject
pronoun or an object pronoun, you need to know how the pronoun is functioning in
the sentence. That's grammar.
(2) Command of grammar gives people a vocabulary with which to discuss their
writing. When feedback is given on the effectiveness of a composition, words
such as fragment, run-on, dependent clause, or
subordinating conjunction may well be useful. If the person providing feedback
does not know these concepts, those ideas will not be shared; if the person
receiving feedback does not know these concepts, the suggestion will not be
understood. In either case, the feedback will not be optimal and the finished
piece will fall short of its potential.
(3) Occasionally you will come upon a sentence that will confound you by its
complexity -- or you will have an idea that you can't quite communicate.
Resorting to the proven technique of identifying subject, predicate, objects,
and other elements can help you understand the sentence or express your idea
Because Hands-On English makes grammar visual by using functional symbols to
represent parts of speech, it makes grammar easier to understand -- even for
those people who have previously found it baffling. And the Hands-On Sentences
card game, which provides practice with parts of speech and sentence structure,
helps people internalize grammar concepts so that they don't have to relearn
them each year. Hands-On Icons goes a step further, making grammar kinesthetic
as well as visual -- getting people up and moving, building human sentences.
We invite your questions for this feature:
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The December 2002 issue of LinguaPhile included information about
Scholastic's Dear America series, which presents fictional eye-witness accounts
of historical events through the diaries of young people. There are actually
four series: Dear America presents the diaries of girls; My Name Is America
presents the diaries of boys; My America includes some girls' and some boys'
diaries; The Royal Diaries includes diaries of members of royal families.
All of the books in these series are listed at
http://www.scholastic.com/dearamerica . In addition to the book titles, the
website includes a wide array of extension activities: arts and crafts
activities, discussion questions, video clips, and a writers' workshop, where
young people can share their answers to questions about the books or can
contribute to an online story.
All of these activities are bound to engage readers more deeply in the books and
to heighten their interest in both history and reading!
Fran's initial review of the Dear America series:
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Dr. Mardy Grothe has written yet another book that will delight linguaphiles.
In fact in his introduction Grothe says, "This book is aimed at readers who have
a deep interest in seeing language used in creative ways." This latest volume,
I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like: A Comprehensive Compilation of History's
Greatest Analogies, Metaphors, and Similes, includes nearly 2,000
Since Grothe became a voracious reader more than four decades ago, he has
collected hundreds of thousands of quotations, some of which appeared in his
earlier works: Viva la Repartee, Oxymoronica, and Never Let a
Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You.
I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like follows the same format as Grothe's
previous books. The introduction acquaints readers with the figures of speech
included in the book. Grothe clearly explains the similarities and differences
between analogies, similes, and metaphors, and he recounts their earliest known
appearance in history. His explanation is perfectly seasoned with illustrative
The body of the book is divided into fifteen chapters, each of which includes
analogies, similes, and metaphors on a particular theme, such as definitions,
relationships, stages of life, stage and screen, politics, sports, and -- of
course -- the literary life. Again in the format of his earlier books,
quotations in the first part of each chapter are enhanced by discussion and
historical anecdotes. It is interesting to see nearly identical quotations from
widely separated contemporaries or to see various ways that a similar idea is
expressed -- the idea, for example, that love is mental illness. Equally
fascinating is to see the wide range of things to which one other thing can be
compared. Love, for example, is compared to a cigar, a snowmobile, measles, a
game of poker, and dozens of other things. The latter part of each chapter
presents additional quotations, most without explanation. The book concludes
with an author index.
Grothe advises readers to read the book slowly, as one would amble through an
art museum, "taking the time to savor the observations and to admire the skill
that was required to create them." Once we have tasted these morsels, it's
nearly impossible to resist the desire to share them. Here are a few of my
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. --Victor Borge
Modern English is the Wal-Mart of languages: convenient, huge, hard to avoid,
superficially friendly, and devouring all rivals in its eagerness to expand.
Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower. --Albert Camus
Grothe's explanations and quotations would serve to instruct and inspire
writers; however, parents and teachers might want to monitor young people's use
of the book since -- especially in the "sex" chapter -- some body parts and
functions are named and described.
I am so glad that Dr. Grothe has found such an effective way to share his
collection of quotations with the world!
Published by Collins, 2008, 330 pages.
Available from Amazon.com
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A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder provides vindication
for those of us who never seem to attain the level of orderliness we feel our
lives "should" contain.
Authors Eric Abrahamson (professor of management at Columbia Business School)
and David H. Freedman (a contributing editor and the technology columnist at
Inc. magazine) label a system "messy" "if its elements are scattered, mixed
up, or varied due to some measure of randomness, or if for all practical
purposes it appears random from someone's point of view." Thus, what may be
orderly to one person may appear messy to another -- if, for example, the system
of order cannot be discerned. While "messiness" may be due to an absence of
order, it is more often due to a system of order that isn't working properly.
"Messy" can describe not only living quarters and workspaces, but also lawns,
schedules, traffic patterns, company policies and procedures, leadership styles,
thought processes, and a host of other things. The authors contrast "messiness"
and "neatness" in these various contexts, and they describe individuals,
businesses, and organizations that have achieved phenomenal success despite --
or, more accurately, because of -- their unconventional organizational
While Abrahamson and Freedman concede that messiness is not always superior to
neatness, they point out the benefits of messiness because of our society's
general bias toward neatness. They demonstrate how moderate disorganization
often leads to greater flexibility, efficiency, and effectiveness than do more
highly organized systems. In addition, the unusual juxtapositions that may occur
in a messy environment can spark creativity or suggest solutions to problems.
A Perfect Mess may inspire us to reconsider the optimal level of neatness
or messiness in various areas of our lives. Doing so may free up hours of our
time, unleash our creativity, and allay our guilt.
Hardcover book published by Little, Brown and Company, 2007, 336 pages.
Paperback book published by Back Bay Books, 2008, 352 pages.
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The following quotation, from I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like, will
well reward the time you spend solving the puzzle. Each letter in the 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:
LJBVQAC QR J WKFOJAL QA LWS KJOF
JAF GOQLQAC QR J XJHPSL
HZRLJQOR QA LWS WMHRS. MZSAQAC
LWS XQORL LJVSR JBB LWS
ZOSRRHOS MXX LWS RSPMAF.
-- OMDSOL XOMRL
Answer will appear in the next issue.
Answers to May Puzzler
So many months have passed since this puzzle appeared in LinguaPhile that
it is repeated below for your convenience. The goal is to match each nickname on
the left with its state on the right. Answers appear below the puzzle.
| 1. The
2. The Centennial State
3. The Constitution State
4. The Equality State
5. The First State
6. The Gem State
7. The Golden State
8. The Granite State
9. The Last Frontier
10. The Natural State
11. The Ocean State
12. The Old Line State
13. The Palmetto State
14. The Peace Garden State
15. The Silver State
16. The Treasure State
1. o 9. a
2. d 10. b
3. e 11. m
4. p 12. h
5. f 13. n
6. g 14. l
7. c 15. j
8. k 16. i
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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
http://www.GrammarAndMore.com . People who have e-mail but do not have
Internet access can subscribe by clicking on this link and requesting to
We welcome your comments and suggestions:
The index to LinguaPhile, which is updated regularly, is now available on
the GrammarAndMore website:
http://www.GrammarAndMore.com/edu/archive/index.txt . 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
LinguaPhile is a gift you can give, yet still have for yourself!
Copyright 2008 Fran Santoro Hamilton