Words, Words, Words: Ready-to-Use Games and Activities for Vocabulary Building, Grades 7-12


Words, Words, Words offers teachers a handy and much-needed resource filled with creative and engaging games and activities that will help students in grades 7-12 improve their vocabulary. The book features proven, practical, and accessible methods to encourage your students to increase their vocabularies and have fun while they are doing it. Words, Words, Words is divided into thirty thematic units each containing fifteen interrelated words. Each unit contains four different ready-to-use activities for each...

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Words, Words, Words offers teachers a handy and much-needed resource filled with creative and engaging games and activities that will help students in grades 7-12 improve their vocabulary. The book features proven, practical, and accessible methods to encourage your students to increase their vocabularies and have fun while they are doing it. Words, Words, Words is divided into thirty thematic units each containing fifteen interrelated words. Each unit contains four different ready-to-use activities for each group of words. The book is designed to help students understand each word’s meaning, associations, similarities, and differences and includes dynamic classroom-tested activities such as

  • Crossword puzzles
  • Matching columns
  • Magic squares
  • Jumbles
  • Word finds
  • Close reading
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Concealed quotations
  • Riddles
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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"Offering practical and enjoyable activities, this book is an essential resource for any teacher concerned with enhancing his or her students' vocabulary."
—Gary Muschla, author, The Writing Teacher’s Book of Lists, Second Edition

Words, Words, Words is a student and teacher friendly book that incorporates key vocabulary skills in a structured, interesting format. Thematic units, helpful hints and enjoyable, motivational exercises make this a standout. Umstatter's latest is a great vocabulary book with a sense of humor!”
—Marylou McCullough, director of humanities, West Islip Public School and former high school English teacher

“Jack Umstatter has created a book filled with meaningful language arts activities. This book can be used as a foundation for a course, for spot lessons, or for remediation. These lessons will engage students and help make learning fun.”
—Tom Hall, high school principal, Harvard, Massachusetts

“Jack Umstatter's uniquely engaging word puzzles are not just vocabulary-builders. They invite students to think seriously about the shades of meaning that are so critical to reading comprehension, critical analysis and self-expression.”
—John Tessitore, award-winning author for young adults, author of Muhammad Ali: The World's Champion

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787971168
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/25/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 723,612
  • Product dimensions: 8.45 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Umstatter, a master English teacher with more than 30 years’ experience, is a multiple winner of the Teacher of the Year award. He currently teaches English and co-chairs the English department in the Cold Spring Harbor District in Long Island, New York. He is the author of numerous books including Hooked on English!, English Brainstormers!, Brain Games, and Grammar Grabbers from Jossey-Bass.

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Table of Contents

About the Author x

About This Resource xi

Unit 1 Places

Word List 2

1-1. A Large City, a Dock, and More 4

1-2. The Letters C and R Stand for Themselves 5

1-3. Find the Three Words 6

1-4. A Colorful Matching Column 7

Unit 2 Beg, Borrow, and Steal

Word List 10

2-1. Start with a Capital 12

2-2. Patriotism Is In! 13

2-3. Sliding Along 14

2-4. No Need to Beg, Borrow, or Steal 15

Unit 3 What’s That You Say?

Word List 18

3-1. Relating Them 20

3-2. Ego Man 21

3-3. Who Is Theodore Geisel? 22

3-4. Three-Letter Adjectives 23

3-5. Units 1–3 Crossword Puzzle Review 24

Review Test Units 1–3 25

Unit 4 Clean Your Room!

Word List 28

4-1. Find the Proverb 30

4-2. There Once Was a Man . . . 31

4-3. Look for Those Second Letters 32

4-4. Two Words and Two Girls 33

Unit 5 How We Act

Word List 36

5-1. Clumps of Letters 38

5-2. Why Start with Something Crude? 39

5-3. What Is an Amazon? 40

5-4. Music to Your Ears 41

Unit 6 Words from Mythology

Word List 44

6-1. A Monstrous Affair to Say the Least 46

6-2. Headlines! 47

6-3. Five Will Get You Forty 48

6-4. Start with Zeus 49

Review Test Units 4–6 51

Unit 7 The Big and Small of It All

Word List 54

7-1. Fifteen and Five 56

7-2. Floating Like a Butterfly 57

7-3. Spinning Around 58

7-4. Change a Letter (or Two) 59

Unit 8 Tell It Like It Is

Word List 62

8-1. It’s What They Said 65

8-2. You Only Hear Its First Letter 66

8-3. O! Those Prefixes Ending with O! 67

8-4. Under the Sea 68

Unit 9 The Sciences (Naturally!)

Word List 70

9-1. Searching for Those Science Words 72

9-2. Let’s Start with “No” for Some of These 73

9-3. Finding the Three-Letter Words 74

9-4. Figuring Out the Science Words 75

Review Test Units 7–9 77

Unit 10 Mathematically Inclined

Word List 80

10-1. Just Do the Math 82

10-2. Overheard in Math Class 83

10-3. What Is It Called? 84

10-4. Famous Names in Mathematics 85

Unit 11 How We Move

Word List 88

11-1. Just Move It! 91

11-2. How Would You Move If . . .? 92

11-3. Newspaper Captions 93

11-4. Don’t Be Staggering Through This Puzzle! 94

Unit 12 Write On!

Word List 96

12-1. I’d Like to Read 98

12-2. Legends Amongst Us 99

12-3. Literary Crossword 100

12-4. Really Researching 101

Review Test Units 10–12 103

Unit 13 Popular SAT Words

Word List 106

13-1. Let’s Go Fishing 108

13-2. The Fourth-of-July Special 109

13-3. To the Nth Degree 110

13-4. By a Nose 111

Unit 14 What We’d Like Said About Us

Word List 114

14-1. End with James Bond 116

14-2. Don’t Tell This to Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan! 117

14-3. Illustrative Examples 118

14-4. And Now for the One Noun Form 119

Unit 15 To a Degree

Word List 122

15-1. Placing Them In 124

15-2. Where Did the Word Number Go? 125

15-3. Triple the Number 126

15-4. Hey! Some Letters Are Missing! 127

Review Test Units 13–15 129

Unit 16 All Types of People

Word List 132

16-1. Who Said It? 134

16-2. All Sorts of People 135

16-3. Politically Speaking 136

16-4. Have You Seen the . . .? 137

Unit 17 An Interesting Combination of Words

Word List 140

17-1. Coming or Going There Late 142

17-2. People Will Not Be Mad at Us This Time 143

17-3. Who Said What? 144

17-4. All Fifteen 145

Unit 18 All in the Family

Word List 148

18-1. It’s a Family Affair 150

18-2. Double-Letter Words 151

18-3. No Feuding Within the Family Here 152

18-4. Headlines 153

Review Test Units 16–18 155

Unit 19 Skilled—Or Not So Skilled

Word List 158

19-1. Be an Exemplary Student 160

19-2. Positive and Negative Words 161

19-3. Which Does Not Belong—And Why? 162

19-4. Inventors and Inventions 163

Unit 20 Here, There, and Everywhere

Word List 166

20-1. Your Mother Is What Kind of an Engineer? 168

20-2. Adverbs Galore! 169

20-3. Making Your Way Around Analogies 170

20-4. How Simple! 171

Unit 21 Smart—Or Not So Smart

Word List 174

21-1. Do You Have the Smarts? 176

21-2. Do You Have the Skill? 177

21-3. Expanding Your Vocabulary 178

21-4. World Capitals 179

Review Test Units 19–21 181

Unit 22 A Bit Different

Word List 184

22-1. A Traitor, a Criminal, and the Rest 186

22-2. Finding the Countries 187

22-3. People and What They Said 188

22-4. Where Did the Word Maestro Come From? 189

Unit 23 How (or Not How) to Say It

Word List 192

23-1. It’s Not That Greek to You! 195

23-2. U-R That Clever! 196

23-3. This Is So Easy! 197

23-4. A Very Silly Poem 198

Unit 24 Gone!

Word List 200

24-1. Two at a Time 202

24-2. Water,Water Everywhere 203

24-3. “-Ury” Is In 204

24-4. Count on It to Be One of the First 205

Review Test Units 22–24 207

Unit 25 Age

Word List 210

25-1. The Last Letters 212

25-2. Starting Fresh 213

25-3. One Hundred Years and Counting 214

25-4. Ponce de Leon’s Search 215

Unit 26 Who Wants to Be Called That?

Word List 218

26-1. All Types of Behaviors and Moods 220

26-2. Identifying the Person 221

26-3. Obstinate Is the Way to Go Here 222

26-4. Care to Do This Over Breakfast? 223

Unit 27 How Much—Or How Little

Word List 226

27-1. We Want No Dearth of Correct Answers Here! 228

27-2. What Have You Wrought? 229

27-3. Large or Small or Just Enough? 230

27-4. Sounds Like . . . 231

Review Test Units 25–27 233

Unit 28 Social Studies Class

Word List 236

28-1. Take One, Then Two, and Then #15 Does It Alone 238

28-2. Let’s Call It a Tie—At Least in Points 239

28-3. Words Within Words 240

28-4. Do You Know Your U.S. Presidents? 241

Unit 29 Science Class

Word List 244

29-1. Making Sense Out of Science 246

29-2. Science Words 247

29-3. The Dictionary to the Rescue? 248

29-4. The Parade of Scientists 249

Unit 30 All About the Senses

Word List 252

30-1. A Crossword for the Senses 254

30-2. The Final Letters 255

30-3. Just Add Some Sweeteners 256

30-4. Sensing Your Capability 257

Review Test Units 28–30 259

List of Words by Unit 261

Words Included in This Book 269

Answer Key 273

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First Chapter

Words, Words, Words

Ready-to-Use Games and Activities for Vocabulary Building, Grades 7-12
By Jack Umstatter

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7879-7116-2

Chapter One

Unit 1


1. asylum: (n) sanctuary, refuge, institution for the mentally ill

Since the mentally ill man had trouble living alone, he was placed in an asylum last week.

syn: haven, retreat, hideaway, shelter

2. bungalow: (n) one-story cottage

Our family enjoys renting the bungalow on Brooks Lake each summer.

syn: cabin, summerhouse

Helpful Hint: A bungaLOW is a building that is usually LOW to the ground.

3. cavern: (n) a large cave

The scientists want to revisit this cavern to check for possible changes in the rock formations.

Family words: cavernous (adj)

Helpful Hint: A CAVErn is a large CAVE.

4. depot: (n) storehouse; warehouse; railroad or bus station

The truck driver dropped the sixteen large boxes at the grain depot.

My mother will pick up my sister at the train depot at six o'clock tonight.

syn: terminal, terminus

5. galley: (n) a long, low ancient ship propelled by oars; the kitchen of a ship or airplane

We drew pictures of an immensegalley that included the slaves and convicts who were on board.

The documentary revealed that many slaves were harshly treated as they rowed in the galley of this antique ship.

6. hearth: (n) stone floor of a fireplace

Please do not leave the newspapers on the hearth, as they could easily ignite from the sparks.

7. labyrinth: (n) structure containing an intricate network of winding passages that are hard to follow without losing one's way; a maze

Daedulus, the father of Icarus, constructed mythology's most famous labyrinth at the request of Crete's King Minos.

syn: intricacy, confusion, tangle

8. lagoon: (n) an area of shallow salt water

We wandered near this peaceful lagoon while we were vacationing here last summer.

9. landmark: (n) a prominent feature of a landscape

The Golden Gate Bridge is a California landmark.

syn: milestone, watershed, highlight, feature

10. metropolis: (n) a large city or center

Which is your favorite North American metropolis-New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, or Boston?

syn: hub, seat

11. monastery: (n) residence for monks

The monks living in that monastery have taken certain vows including poverty, obedience, and silence.

Helpful Hint: MONks live in a MONastery.

12. peninsula: (n) land with water on three sides

Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Florida is a world-famous peninsula.

Helpful Hint: A PENinsula is often shaped like a PEN.

13. plateau: (n) an elevated tract of flat land

The view from this large plateau is both magnificent and breathtaking.

syn: tableland, plain, highland, mesa

Helpful Hint: A PLATEAU and a PLATE are both flat!

14. quay: (n) wharf; dock

Workers called stevedores load and unload the ships that dock at this quay.

syn: pier, landing

15. vestibule: (n) a small entrance hall or room, either to a building or to a larger room

My father greeted our New Year's Eve guests in the vestibule before escorting them into the living room.

syn: foyer, antechamber, hallway, entry

Helpful Hint: Leave your VEST in the VESTibule before you walk into the living room.

Name: ____________________________ Date: _______________________________ Period: ___________


One of the answers in this crossword puzzle has to do with a large city. Another has to do with a dock. So there's a start. Fill in the answers to the fifteen clues below.


1. prominent feature of a landscape

6. land with water on three sides

8. small entrance hall either to a building or to a larger room

10. storehouse; warehouse; railroad or bus station

12. structure containing an intricate network of winding passages

14. institution for the mentally ill; refuge; place of protection


1. an area of shallow water

2. residence for monks

3. dock; wharf; pier

4. large cave

5. large city or center

7. elevated tract of flat land

9. long, low usually single-decked ship propelled by oars and sails used in ancient and medieval times; kitchen of a ship

11. one-story cottage

13. stone floor of a fireplace

Name: ____________________________ Date: _______________________________ Period: ___________


Today is your day to play detective. The fifteen words from Unit 1 have been disguised in this activity. Code letters have been substituted for the letters of the words, except that the real letter C is still the letter C in the substitute code, and the letter R is still the letter R in the substitute code. The other letters found in the Code Letters column have been given substitutes. Use the Letter Substitution Code to track your letters. Write the correct letters in the appropriate spaces. If you have done all of this correctly, you have decoded the fifteen words and are a good detective!

Code Letters Real Letters

1. CUWDRT CAV ___ R ___

2. NQUBDUH ___ ___ A ___ ___ A ___

3. NDTLTOHQU ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ A

4. QUKVRLTBA ___ A ___ ___ R ___ ___ ___ ___

5. SYTUOBDRV ___ ___ ___ A ___ ___ ___ R ___

6. ADURBA ___ ___ A R ___ ___

7. PDNYB ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

8. SDBRYNYQLO ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

9. MUQQDV ___ A ___ ___ ___ ___

10. UOVQHS A ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

11. QUTPSURG ___ A ___ ___ ___ A R ___

12. WDOBLKHQD V ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

13. QUMYYT ___ A ___ ___ ___ ___

14. KHTMUQYE ___ ___ ___ ___ A ___ ___ ___

15. IHUV ___ ___ A ___

Letter Substitution Code Used:

Code Letters: A B C D E G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V WY

Real Letters: ___ ___ C ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ R ___ ___ A ___ V ___

Name: ____________________________ Date: _______________________________ Period: ___________


Choose the correct word and then write it in the appropriate blank. After each sentence, a number is written within parentheses. That number signifies the letter that should be written at the bottom of this page. If you have correctly written the fifteen letters in order, you have spelled out three five-letter words. The first word means to soothe; the second is something you need for a printer; the third is where many actors earn their living.

asylum depot labyrinth metropolis plateau bungalow galley lagoon monastery quay cavern hearth landmark peninsula vestibule

1. While exploring a(n) ________________________ in England in the 1900s, scientist Arthur Ogilvy found the jawbone of a man, now dated at 31,000 years old. (2)

2. My father catches many fish in the ________________________ that eventually empties into the Caribbean Sea. (1)

3. Our science teacher told us about a unique type of bird ________________________ found in the woods near our school. (4)

4. We spotted several horses on the distant plains as we stood atop the ________________________. (6)

5. Our hotel is just down the block from the ________________________, where many ships pull into port each day. (4)

6. Since this old palace has so many confusing long and narrow hallways, we thought that we were in a(n) ________________________. (8)

7. Grandfather enjoyed moving to the peaceful countryside after living and working for so many years in the noisy and crowded ________________________. (5)

8. Only the northern portion of this ________________________ does not have a coastline. (5)

9. Please explain what types of activity took place down in the ship's ________________________. (5)

10. The Eiffel Tower in Paris is a world-famous ________________________. (7)

11. Our small group waited for ten minutes in the building's ________________________ before we were escorted into the large conference room to meet our state representative. (3)

12. Hundreds of monks have lived in this magnificent ________________________ during the past two hundred years. (6)

13. Our family cat lies near the ________________________ to keep warm during those cold winter nights. (3)

14. Each summer, my friend's family lives in a lakeside ________________________ that was built nearly fifty years ago. (4)

15. How many bus and train riders use this ________________________ each week? (2)

Name: ____________________________ Date: _______________________________ Period: ___________


Match the word in Column A with its definition in Column B. Then write the two-letter answer on the line after the number in Column A. Last, write the two-letter answers (in order) at the bottom of the page. If your answers are correct, you will understand the title of this activity.

Column A Column B

1. _____ asylum bl. residence for monks

2. _____ bungalow br. sanctuary, refuge; institution for the mentally ill

3. _____ cavern di. wharf; dock 4. _____ depot ed. large city or center

5. _____ galley eo. stone floor of a fireplace

6. _____ hearth er. prominent feature of a landscape

7. _____ labyrinth go. small entrance hall or room

8. _____ lagoon in. elevated tract of flat land

9. _____ landmark ng. area of shallow saltwater

10. _____ metropolis np. large cave

11. _____ monastery ow. one-story cottage

12. _____ peninsula pl. log, low ancient ship propelled by oars

13. _____ plateau ra. structure containing an intricate network of winding passages

14. _____ quay ue. land with water on three sides

15. _____ vestibule ur. storehouse; warehouse; railroad or bus station


Excerpted from Words, Words, Words by Jack Umstatter Copyright © 2004 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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