Review by Linda K. Foster
I can’t count the number of times in my life that I’ve said, “it’s Greek to me” meaning, of course, that I didn’t understand something. After reading English From The Roots Up, developed to provide a foundation for the English language through the study of root words, I realized that not only the things I don’t understand, but, also, most of the things I do understand are “Greek to me”. “Just as phonics helps children figure out what words are, Latin and Greek help them figure out what words mean.” This quote by Joegil K. Lundquist, author of English From The Roots Up provides a simple explanation for learning the Latin and Greek roots for English words. In the introduction, Ms. Lundquist opines, “Without an early working knowledge of these indispensable components of their language, children are handicapped in their ability to use words well.”
English From The Roots Up is presented in two volumes, each offering 100 Latin and Greek root words for use with elementary through high school age students. While the teaching materials are written in a manner to be presented in a classroom setting, the system is easily adapted for use in the Homeschool setting. And, probably most importantly, this system is written in such a manner that it is not necessary for the teacher/parent to have a background in Latin and Greek to be successful.
Students use color-coded flash cards to learn the root words, meanings and derivatives of the words. The color-coding allows the student to differentiate between Green and Latin words. A page of each book shows the front and back of each flash card and also includes useful “Teaching Notes” offering information various meanings of the words and making suggestions for use in incorporating other aspects of learning (history, music, etc). For example, teaching notes for the word “metron” mentions metric systems and poetic meter as possible areas of discussion.
In addition to “flash card” pages, each volume includes a numerical index of words that coordinates with the flash card numbers, an alphabetical index divided into Greek and Latin sections, a pronunciation guide and a page dedicated to the Greek alphabet.
Throughout both Volumes, teachers/parents are encouraged to use pictures, models, visual media aids, field trips, etc. to make the concept of the study of words more vivid and memorable. Finally, Ms. Lundquist makes it clear that the order and method of study presented in this system is a fairly time tested system, but should be used as a guide only. Teachers/parents should feel free to adapt the system to the individual student’s abilities and interests.
English From The Roots Up is a practical study approach that can bring a quick, solid improvement to the grasp of English. It is a time-tested system that makes what could be a very dull subject, an exciting experience. It is well thought out, well organized and adaptable to any age group. – L.F.