Friday, July 29, 2016

Marie's Words - SAT Vocabulary Study

"Some may wonder how I have the temerity to use such grandiloquence in my language.  But if you look closely, you will see that rich language is ubiquitous and does not happen in a fortuitous way.  If your words are tenuous don't take umbrage with me because I happen to be a superlative writer." What!?  If you have no idea what these words mean it's time for you to pick up a box of Marie's Words.  I am a word nerd so we are going to have so much fun with these cards.

Marie's Words was created by a high school junior who needed a visual way to study for the SAT.  Brilliant idea! There are 550 word cards chosen from literature and SAT word lists.  On the front of the card is a visual representation of the meaning and on the back is the word, the pronunciation, the definition, synonyms, antonyms and the word used in a sentence. The size of a small flashcard, there are so many fun ways to use these cards to study vocabulary.  I picked 5 random cards and came up with the above paragraph.  This is what KingMan came up with his 5 random word cards:

"Draymond Green flagrantly fouled Kevin Durant. But Durant's fidelity to his team was not fickle and no one can flout that fact. How do I know? Well, I love basketball so much I could write a tome about it."  This exercise was so much fun and required that KingMan understand the meaning of the word and be creative in its usage.  I absolutely love the illustration for the word tome.  That visual!

While I love Vocabulary Cartoons, after the exercise is complete, the only way to review is to go back through the workbook.  Who wants to do that? Marie's Words encourages review in a myriad of ways, which is essential for committing to memory and, more importantly, using new vocabulary. The cards come hole-punched so you can easily slip them on a ring and review the old-fashioned way.  But the 5 word card sentence game was so much fun I plan to use it as a morning warm-up in our homeschool.  We even made a game out of finding the most ridiculous substitute for a simple word like poor: "His entrepreneurial spirit is a safeguard against living a impecunious life."  Marie's Words makes vocabulary study fun!

Though aimed at the middle and high school crowd, Marie's Words could easily be used with a younger child.  I plan to pull out the words with super silly illustrations to study with LionHeart.  He is a right-brain learner and these cards will light up the right side of his brain with the hand-drawn illustrations on the front that attempt to convey the definition of the word and help you retain the meaning more efficiently.  The more creative and zany the drawing, the more it will stick.  LionHeart will get a kick out of the illustration for words like wrath, jocular and hiatus.  The gap in the teeth illustration for hiatus - get it? Funny! He'll never forget that one.

This is one of my favorites.  I'm sure LionHeart will get the meaning of this one right away.  Can you guess?

I also like that words within the words are highlighted whenever possible.  The illustration for tantamount highlighting the word amount is brilliant!  The illustrations for indigent and forbearance are equally clever. I've got all kinds of game ideas and incentives swirling around in my head using these cards.

Marie's Words includes instructions for two games: "Picture Word," and "Wordsmith."  But you can definitely make up your own.  We will play the vocabulary version of the popular card game "Concentration."  We'll start with the pictures face up.  The player will have to choose a card and correctly define it.  If the player is not able to do so, the card is set aside.  The cards that are set aside will be the ones that end up on the ring for further study. At the end of the week, we'll replay the game and put the missed cards back into play.

The only thing I didn't like, and this may be petty, but I'm anal - is that the box that holds the cards is not very sturdy.  It's quite flimsy and mine fell a part.  I'm sure a plastic recipe card hold will serve the purpose, but a Marie's Words box would have been nicer to store the cards.  I also would like to have seen a bit more diversity in the people represented in the illustrations.

But I know this guy is happy that SAT vocabulary prep will bring loads of family fun.


  1. Wow. Seems fun. I think I can use this myself lol

  2. We had a lot of fun playing the games. Who knew mere words could be so much fun.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I think I'm going to order these.

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  5. Nice post the Great articles and the nice story it is used to further his education beyond the undergraduate students.
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  6. Wow! This is fantastic! I am sure this is the best way to study vocabulary. I am highly impressed with your effort. I wish I could also do something like this for my LSAT Prep. I will have to figure it out, or will you be able to make my prep a little more interesting?