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Word Jar


Today's Snack: Eat something yummy that comes out of a jar. Pickles? Peanuts? Grape jelly for your sandwich? Enjoy with ice water that you drink out of a (clean!) jar.





Glass or plastic jar, any size (the bigger, the better), with lid

Old magazines, newspapers, catalogs

Scissors | Glue | Sponge brush | Ribbon

Small foil pie plate or disposable container

Dictionary and other word sources

Small slips of scratch paper



What predicts your future success?


Coming from a rich family?


Being good-looking?


Having the best teachers and the best schools?


None of the above. The No. 1 trait that comes with success in life is having a big vocabulary!


You don't have to be rich or rank at the top of your class to gather a big vocabulary by reading a lot of books. Most successful people didn't start out with those advantages. What they tend to have, though, is a big pool of words with which to communicate . . . and find success.


Successful people live in the world of words. That's true whether your world is in school, in business, the professions, the military, the arts - anywhere people need to communicate clearly, which is . . . everywhere!


Studies have shown that the more words you understand and can spell, the better you can communicate.


You can get your ideas across more exactly and expressively. It's as if knowing a lot of vocabulary words puts a lot of "mental groceries" into your mind. When you're ready to "cook up" some meaning, you have more "groceries" to use. The people who read what you write, or hear what you say, are better "nourished" by your ideas.


The recipe for a big vocabulary is making a habit out of expanding yours. A vocabulary expert, Dr. Wilfred Funk, said that important people in all walks of life use about 5,600 words in their writings.


That figures out to about 430 new words a year, from kindergarten 'til the end of high school.


So just by paying attention in school isn't enough to build a big enough vocabulary to ensure your future success.


Help yourself out by creating a Word Jar. In it, you'll set a goal of adding 500 new words to your vocabulary every year.


With a Word Jar, you can add that many words to your vocabulary . . . and increase the chances that YOU'LL be a big shot, too!


1.      To make your Word Jar, cut out interesting words in different typefaces with different color backgrounds.


2.      Pour equal parts school glue and warm water into a container and stir until well-mixed.


3.      Place the cut-out words on the glass jar in an interesting pattern and brush over them with the glue-water mixture. Let dry. Tie a ribbon around the lip of the jar.


Keep it in a place where you'll see it every day, with a dictionary and a supply of small slips of scratch paper.


Every day, write down three new, unfamiliar words that you have just learned in school, or found in the newspaper, or from other word sources. Write down a short definition, too. Study the spelling.


Once you think you know the word, drop it into the word jar.


If you collect three new words a day in a typical school year, you'll know more than 500 new words by the end of the year.


Next school year, empty those words out and keep them, and then start on refilling your Word Jar with more than 500 new words.


Some people collect rocks. Others collect pro sports gear. But people who want to be better communicators collect the most important tool of their trade: words.


By Susan Darst Williams Writing 2010





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