Some words come with with lots of synonyms (words of identical or similar meaning). These words are particularly interesting to children because it’s like these words travel with a bunch of friends.
Words with synonym friends are sometimes easier to remember… because of all its friends!
Take valiant and venomous, for examples. These words travel with an entourage of synonyms. Check these out with your children:
1. valiant – possessing, showing or acting with courage; acting with boldness or bravery; marked or characterized by valor. What to love about this word? First, valiant is a strong word. valiant derives from the Latin valere, meaning to be strong. Who wouldn’t want to be described as valiant? Talk with your children about valiant. Do you know anyone who is valiant? Can your children identify historical, story, film or game characters who are valiant? Ask your children if they know synonyms for the word valiant. See how many synonyms for valiant your children can identify. How about 10? (brave, courageous, powerful, strong, willful, fearless, heroic, noble, gallant, valorous) While you’re at it, why not identify antonyms (opposite meaning) for valiant… cowardly, fearful, timid, afraid, frightened, apprehensive. Wow. See how many words come to the word party with valiant?
Explain to your children that valiant can be used as an adjective to describe people, things, and even such things as smells and tastes. (Examples: a. The valiant minded knight protected his king with great dedication; b. The valiant deeds of the soldiers drove the enemies from their homeland; c. The valiant crops survived the mighty winter winds; d. The valiant smell of garlic filled the room. Encourage your children to use valiant and its synonym friends in their descriptions of brave/powerful things. valiant makes things so much stronger.
2. venomous – full of venom/poison; having the harm of venom; toxic, lethal, deadly. What to love about this word? venomous is bad. venomous derives from the word venom, referring to the poisonous fluid secreted by snakes and other animals in attacking other creatures. Like valiant, venomous comes with lots of synonym friends. Talk with your children about the word venomous and venom. Have they heard these words before? Ask your children if they know any synonyms for venomous. How about 10? (injurious, harmful, destructive, poisonous, deadly, malicious, hurtful, noxious, lethal, toxic)
Children love descriptive words that hone in on exact meanings. venomous is one such word. Explain to your children that words can be venomous… filled with anger and “poison.” Plants can be venomous… poisonous. Spiders, snakes, scorpions, certain reptiles can be venomous. People and their dispositions can be venomous. Use venomous with care. Venomous is a seriously poisonous word.
valiant. venomous. 2 Adjectives that come with lots of synonym friends. Introduce your children to these descriptive words. Have your own Adjective Party! Remember that LITERACY is all about WORDS – Written, Spoken, Felt.