photo of nine young people, approximately aged 13–20

Source: Untitled, Jordan Y, Flickr

Note: There are 5 Related Resources that you may want to review before continuing this practice lesson.

Words can become friends if you let them. Think about the ways you make friends. You meet people and you are interested in them, so you talk to them, hang out with them, and find out about their pasts. What usually turns someone into a friend is that you are interested in spending more time with that person.

While the process isn’t exactly the same, sometimes you may come across a word that interests you. Maybe the word is unfamiliar or used in an unfamiliar way. Maybe the word reminds you of other words, which causes you to be curious about a possible connection.

A photo of two small boys' backs as they stand and observe something out of the camera's view; One boy has his arm around the other one.

Source: Friends / Amigos, Emilio I. Panizo, Flickr

If a word is interesting, you might find out about its past, its family of related words, and its different uses. If a word is one you can “hang out with”—in other words, a word that you can get to know and use—then in a sense, you have made a new friend.

Friends also help us know about other cultures when they are from a background different from ours. Words can do the same thing. Think about the foreign words and phrases from Lesson 3.

Furthermore, friends can encourage us to share their values and bring our own values into question. Words can do the same thing. Think about words and their connotations from Lesson 2.

A photo of three young women posing together in a restaurant

Source: Dina & Friends, mhaithaca, Flickr

By getting to know your friends’ families (and their ancestors) you can get to know friends better. Getting to know families of words can do the same thing. Think about roots and affixes and cognates of words from Lesson 1 and Lesson 4.

Sometimes you may meet interesting people and look at their online profiles to see if you want to become friends. You can also look up words to find out if they should be included among your word friends. Think about the reference materials you reviewed in Lesson 5.

The important thing is to become interested in words in the same way you become interested in friends, so that you can improve your vocabulary. In this lesson, you will practice applying word study strategies to improve your reading fluency and comprehension.