Saturday, August 25, 2012

To educate schoolchildren, just assign lots of books!

    Ash was given a reading assignment recently to read a book that could have really happened. Both Ash and Lucy are good readers, but as a practical matter Lucy reads more than Ash does.
    Lucy has surprised me from time to time with little tidbits of knowledge that she's obviously picked up from reading. Even fiction books are full of factual knowledge.
    I suggested that Ash read To Kill a Mockingbirdand he got started. After about three minutes he asked me what a "trot line" was. So even though he was reading a fictional book he was learning about something in real life. And something important, too, as Hank Williams Jr. says those who can skin a buck and run a trot line will survive while those who can't presumably will not.
    I did a quick Google search of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "trot line" and what do you know but I found some teacher's vocabulary list for the book. A student who reads this book and masters the vocabulary is certainly going to come out a more educated student!

Here is the vocabulary list:
assuaged: provided with relief from something distressing or painful
apothecary: a pharmacist or pharmacy
piety: strong belief in a god or God and strict observance of religious principles in everyday life
chattel: slave
impotent: powerless
strictures: limits; restrictions
taciturn: introverted; socially reserved; uncommunicative
trot-line: a long heavy fishing line to which several hooks are attached in series
county seat: a town that is the seat of county administration
spittoon: a container for people to spit into
unsullied: pure
synonymous: meaning the same thing; identical
dispatched: sent off
imprudent: reckless; irresponsible
tyrannical: oppressive; ruling with absolute power over a population cruelly kept submissive and fearful
vapid: lacking interest or liveliness
malevolent: spiteful; having or showing a desire to harm others; having a harmful effect or influence
morbid: showing a strong interest in unpleasant or gloomy subjects such as death, murder, or accidents
predilection: a particular liking or preference for something
domiciled: lived in (“domicile” refers to where a person lives)
flivver: a small, inexpensive, old car
beadle: a messenger of a court of law
probate judge: a judge that handles the distribution of property of people who have died
nebulous: unclear; vague
foray: a short trip or visit to a place

Battle of Hastings: an important battle in 1066 that left England open to invasion by the French
John Wesley: founder of Methodism
Hoover carts: during the Depression, some people couldn’t afford to buy gas for their cars and so cut off the front part of their car, turning it into a cart that a mule could pull

neighborhood scold: a neighbor who gossips
stumphole whiskey: illegal whiskey, usually hidden in tree stumps

    Okay, now admit it, were there any words you didn't know? I didn't know beadle, nor flivver, and was unfamiliar with Hoover cart. I guess I've heard of stumphole whiskey.
    Oh, and this vocabulary list is only from Chapter One! I'm going to go ahead and print out the vocabulary words for the entire book, since some conscientious teacher has placed her study guides online. I used to like the Dickens and other books that had the explanations of unusual words and events at the bottom of each page. Too bad Ash's "To Kill a Mockingbird" doesn't have that! But at least he'll have the printed lists.
    I'm convinced that if our schools want to do a better job educating students, they can start by requiring them to read more books! My experience is that the kids are only required to read a few books each year. Too little reading and too little education in my view.

For those of you who want a copy of Ash's vocabulary words, click right here. Also,I found a website that serves as a study guide for the book. To access that site, click here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read that book and the only word I had trouble with was chifferobe. I guess you really never know what a chifferobe is until you bust one up.