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Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Word Origins
Ages: 9-13   Grades: 4-8

Learning the various ways words enter the English language helps students build a rich, flexible vocabulary. 


  • Identify blended, compound, and clipped words
  • Identify word families and use them correctly
  • Increase flexibility in vocabulary
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Written in the proven format of the Spotlight series, the book has:

  • age-appropriate, curricular vocabulary
  • gradual progression in difficulty to build student success
  • light demands for spelling and writing
  • a pretest/posttest

Appealing, one-page lessons in a variety of formats, teach students:     

  • that many words in English came from other language and cultures over many years
  • to identify members of word families and use them correctly
  • to identify blended, compound, and clipped words
  • to match acronyms and their meanings
  • to connect eponyms (words that come from the names of people or places) with their origins
  • to recognize and use differing regional and cultural vocabulary

You may purchase Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Word Origins individually or as part of the 6-book Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 set.  The 6-book set consists of:

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Antonyms

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Associations

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Multiple-Meaning Words

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Synonyms

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Word Origins


Copyright © 2005

40 pages, pretest/posttest, answer key
  • In a longitudinal study of children from grade 1 through grade 6, the best predictor of reading comprehension was vocabulary knowledge, more so than decoding skills or listening comprehension (Verhoeven & Van Leeuwe, 2008).
  • Teaching words that have common origins helps students learn the underlying system of vocabulary connections which is more effective than individually teaching vocabulary words (Flanigan & Greenwood, 2007).
  • In recent research, Fisher and Blachowicz (2005) found semantic connections among words, including instruction on synonyms, antonyms, and word classes, beneficial for significant gains, vocabulary development among struggling elementary readers, and English language learners.
  • A systematic approach to teaching vocabulary, including direct and indirect instruction, teaches students that vocabulary is important for learning language and for reading (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002).

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Word Origins incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. Solving problems in teaching literacy. New York: Guilford Press.

Fisher, P.J., & Blachowicz, C.L.Z. (2005). Vocabulary instruction in a remedial setting. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 21, 281-300.

Flanigan, K., & Greenwood, S.C. (2007). Effective content vocabulary instruction in the middle: Matching students, purposes, words, and strategies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 51(3), 226-238.

Verhoeven, L., & Van Leeuwe, J. (2008). Prediction of developmental reading comprehension: A longitudinal study. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22, 407-423.


Carolyn LoGiudice, Kate LaQuay


Carolyn LoGiudice, M.S., CCC-SLP, was a speech-language clinician in school, clinic, and private settings before joining LinguiSystems in 1984.  She has co-authored many materials with LinguiSystems, including The WORD Test, No-Glamour Vocabulary Cards, The Test of Semantic Skills (TOSS-P and TOSS-I), and the All-Star Vocabulary game.

Kate LaQuay, J.D., became part of LinguiSystems' extended family more than 20 years ago when her mother, Carolyn LoGiudice, joined the company.  Now a mother herself, Kate has co-authored several LinguiSystems products, including U.S. History A Reading Comprehension Book, U.S. Government A Reading Comprehension Game, and Spotlight on Vocabulary Levels 1 and 2.  Previously, she practiced law for six years in Los Angeles.


All students need to expand their working vocabularies.  Some students have a natural facility for language and semantic relationships, enabling them to enlarge their vocabulary almost effortlessly.  Simply reading, listening, and talking seem to boost these students' vocabulary skills.

Many other students need to exert conscious energy to understand and recall an increasingly diverse vocabulary.  Some of them are poor or reluctant readers.  Other students have limited exposure to a rich variety of spoken English.  Still others have language-learning disabilities, attention disorders, or ineffective systems for storing and retrieving vocabulary.  All of these students can benefit from specific vocabulary exposure and instruction.  They can improve their vocabulary skills through conscious attention and guided learning.

The main goal of Spotlight on Vocabulary books is to help students recognize and use specific strategies to enrich their skills for understanding and using an increasingly rich vocabulary.  Word Origins teaches students many ways words become part of the English vocabulary.  These are the student objectives of this book:

  • to understand that many words in English came from other languages and cultures over many years
  • to identify members of word families and use them correctly
  • to identify blended, compound, and clipped words
  • to match acronyms with their meanings
  • to connect eponyms with their origins
  • to recognize and use differing regional and cultural vocabulary

Learning how a word came to exist in English or how its meaning has changed over time helps your students understand the word and recall it readily.  The purpose of the activities in this book are to expose students to the various ways words enter English rather than to teach specific word origins.  Since students are notorious for inventing new slang terms, students need to be able to both decipher and create novel terms effectively.  Learning about acronyms, clipped words, eponyms, etc., will help your students understand and use slang appropriately.

Here are some guidelines for doing the activities in this book with your students:

  • Have your students take the Pretest/Posttest before they begin doing the activities in this book.  When they have completed the book, have them retake the test and compare the results to their original scores.
  • Teach your students to look for examples of eponyms, blended words, clipped words, and acronyms.  Keep lists of each kind of word on a bulletin board and encourage students to keep their own lists, adding to them as they read their textbooks or watch TV.
  • Use each word in a sentence as you present it to your students.  Then ask a student to use it in another sentence.
  • Make sure your students have ready access to a student-friendly dictionary and thesaurus.  Encourage your students to consult these references at any time when they're doing the activities.
  • Ask your students to use the worksheets as templates to make their own versions.  This is a good activity to assign to pairs of students, asking them to trade worksheets with other pairs and complete the tasks the other pairs created.
  • Work with your students to make eponyms that make sense for your school.  Since some eponyms can be negative or hurtful, caution students ahead of time that all eponyms generated need to be neutral or positive.
  • Make a list of about 30 words that can make compound words.  Write each word on a separate card.  Give one card to each student.  Ask the students to build as many words as they can by linking with another student/card.  If students can link up with more than one word, they should do so, keeping track of all of their possible combinations.  To make this activity a game, give a student one point for each match he can find with another word.
  • Ask your students to create personal eponyms based on their names or something from their own lives.  Have volunteers share and explain their eponyms.

We hope Spotlight on Vocabulary 2 Word Origins is a big hit with you and your students!

Carolyn and Kate