Educate yourself.  Be careful about programs that promise a “cure” or a “quick fix”.



Word study tools

Helpful Resources for word study – online


Just a FEW examples to get you started!

  • The American Way of Spelling – The Structure and Origins of American English Orthography- Richard L. Venezky
  • Beneath the Surface of Words – Sue Scibetta Hegland
  • Backpocket Words – Sharing the Essence of English Spelling – Gail Portnuff Venable
  • Etymologicon – A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language – Mark Forsyth (The Inky Fool)
  • Word Histories and Mysteries From Abracadabra to Zeus – from the Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries
  • Spell It Out – The Curious, Enthralling, and Extraordinary Story of English Spellilng –  David Crystal
  • SL – Is For Sleaze but SN- Is For Sneeze! The Meaning Behind English Consonant Clusters – Colin Williams
  • English Words – from Latin and Greek Elements – Donald M. Ayers
  • Say What – The Weird and Mysterious Journey of the English Language – Gena Gorrell
  •  Unlocking Literacy – Marcia Henry


These materials can be downloaded and are free! (a bequest from the family of Peter Smith.)


Once Upon a Word – A Word Origin Dictionary for Kids – by Jess Zafarris


  • ETYMOLOGY – Chambers
  • Dictionary of Word Origins – John Ayto
  • Word Stems – A Dictionary – John Kennedy
  • Oxford English Etymology


  • Workshop handouts will be available on the course website after registration for courses