Monday, April 4, 2011

Word Spy

I mentioned before that I wasn’t really set on an English program for the kids. Truth be told I’m not really interested in one and I want something simple and gentle. I was debating, and kinda still am, English for The Thoughtful Child, as well as a few other books that follow the same gentle manner.
However, while researching curriculum I found myself over on AleCat’s blog and stumbled upon her post about The Return Of The Word Spy. I instantly scanned the Tassie library system and noted that they had a copy of the book in my local branch as well as the first in the series entitled The Word Spy
The boys and I made a trek over to the library and promptly secured ourselves a copy. We brought it home and I honestly couldn’t wait to peek inside of it with the boys.
The first book in the series, much like Alecat mentioned about the second one, is a terrific “living book” for teaching very Language Arts topics. Chapter one covers the history of the alphabet starting as far back as Cuneiform. Now, you’d really expect a book like this to be kinda dry, but we were hooked!
It was interesting to see how the alphabet changed between many different peoples and countries, and we learned a lot too. For instance, we had no idea that Benjamin Franklin wanted to have several letters removed from the alphabet in order to make spelling easier. Which begged the question of, “Was he a bad speller or was he tired of poor spelling?” Mind you, had he been successful with kicking J & Y out of the alphabet we’d have a child named Aden, which is about as funny as what my first and middle name would look like.
The book suggested inventing your own alphabet as Tolkien, Star Trek, & Star Wars  have done. Morgan took them seriously and promptly grabbed up a sheet of paper and wrote out the alphabet and then began deciding what he’d turn each of his letters into. 

This book covers an amazing amount of topics, ranging from the simplistic like punctuation to the more complex like Oxymorons & Euphemisms. and because it’s all written from the perspective that you’re a secret spy conversing with another secret spy it comes off as being a completely awesome and cool book!
And can I just say, my eldest thought the timeline of language in the front of the book was really cool. Yep, really. It was only slightly overshadowed when he learned there’d be a code at the end of each chapter that we’d have to solve. Which really now has me reconsidering an English book for the year..


Kylie said...

Ok this sounds is it a narrative with suggested activities? That's waht I am getting about it from your post?

Rebecca said...

I have a funny little anecdote about this book: I picked it up from the adult non-fiction section of the library, as a book for *me* to read. I took it home and read it, all the while thinking it was interesting, sure, but the language was kinda patronising and seemed as if it were written for children.
Then I had a look inside the front and realised it *was* written for children, it had just been filed in the wrong section. I suddenly looked at it with new eyes - yeah, this is an awesomely cool little book for kids. :)

Kendra said...

Yes, I'd say it is! The chapters are written as though The Word Spy is speaking directly to you. There's a lot of stuff in each chapter and they are broken down by category so you could really take it nice and slow and enjoy the book. I reckon if my library has it yours would! ;)

Kendra said...

Oh Rebecca, that IS funny. Our library had them shelved in the Junior section ;)

Kylie said...

Excellent thanks Kendra :-)

Also wanted to invite you to include your blog in -

Diana said...

For those of you in the US - this book was published here under the name "The Word Snoop" instead of "The Word Spy". :)