Little words can sometimes pack a powerful punch. Little words can have interestingly BIG meanings. Children love little words that they can pronounce, carry around with them and use.
Take adjectives wily and wry, for examples:
1. wily – cunning, sly, artful, crafty. What to love about this word? wily is a great word to describe someone who is willfully persuasive… but not in a good way. wily usually means trouble. wily is the kid to stay away from. Explain to your children that wily is not the way they want to be described. That being said, wily (as a word, not a characteristic) is packed with awesomeness. wily is that clever person who manages to lead or induce others to do all kinds of things. “The bad influence.” Talk with your children about wily story characters with wily behaviors… especially this Fable by Aesop, The Wily Fox and the Hare:
A rabbit who was quite naive
Once picked a fox to be his friend,
Beware! warned Owl, but rabbit thought
The fox his evil ways would mend.
You’re known for tricks! the rabbit said
One day as fox lay in the sun,
Would you be good enough, kind sir,
To take the time to show me one?
Of course, said fox, Come by tonight
For dinner and I’ll demonstrate
How I can make things disappear
As if they just . . . evaporate!
So that same evening fox put on
A dinner show for his review,
And rabbit was, to his surprise,
Both audience and dinner too.
What happens to the hare in this fable? wily characters generally trick more naive characters… in literature and in life, and even in the animal world. Introduce your children to wily. Use wily (let’s just hope there aren’t many wily characters in your children’s lives)!
2. wry – distorted; twisted or bent to one side; temporarily twisted in an expression of displeasure or distaste. What to love about this word? wry generally refers to a facial manifestation of disgust and children love contorted faces. Think a dramatic ECKKKK or EWWWW or UGHHHH or BLECHHH. A wry mouth is a very dissatisfied, twisted mouth. A wry face is completely wrung out of shape. Make wry mouths and faces with your children. Think completely writhed in disgust or displeasure! Children will remember the word wry… the little word with the BIG dissatisfaction.
wily. wry. 2 little adjectives. Think wily, think sly. Think wry, think writhed. Great descriptive words to pack a lot of power into one adjective. Remember that LITERACY is all about WORDS – Written, Spoken, Felt.