Thursday, December 20, 2012

A fun way to boost your vocabulary!

A fun way to boost your vocabulary!

Generally, one of the best ways to boost your vocabulary is to read. There can be two problems with this method:  First, you must read text that includes words you do not already know; rereading the Hunger Games series for the third time isn’t going to cut it. It can be hard to find reading material that has advanced vocabulary but is also enjoyable. Second, this method works best when practiced over a long period of time. What if the test is just around the corner?

Clearly what you need are fun books that are dense with polysyllabic words but that are also quick to read. Try Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin and Hobbes was a comic strip drawn by Bill Watterson in the 1980’s and1990’s. The strips were collected into books that are still available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You might even find them at your local library.

It was my children who first alerted me to the comic’s usefulness as a vocabulary builder. We own over a dozen of the books and both boys grew up reading them. My oldest remarked that he had learned more new vocabulary from Calvin and Hobbes than from his English class assignments. Consider this sentence from a strip in The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes:  “Poised precariously over a percolating pit of putrid pasta, Spaceman Spiff is held prisoner.” Or, “With stupendous powers of reasoning, the caped combatant concludes there’s no need for homework if there’s no school tomorrow!”

With a few Calvin and Hobbes books, you can build your vocabulary without feeling as if you spent your holiday break studying!

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