As Far As Words Go: Activities for Understanding Ambiguous Language and Humor, Revised Edition

Author: Cecile Cyrul Spector Ph.D.

Format: Paperback w/CD-ROM, 192 pages, 8.5 x 11.0
ISBN: 9781598570564
Price: $42.95

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Understanding ambiguous words, phrases, and sentences is an important part of reading well, communicating skillfully, and enjoying humor based on word play. With this seven-unit activity book—filled with creative, ready-to-use activities based on jokes and puns—students will learn how to decipher the language ambiguities they encounter inside and outside the classroom.

Ideal for use with students in the upper elementary grades through high school and beyond, As Far As Words Gois what speech-language pathologists and education professionals need to

  • improve students' literacy and communication skills, including semantic, metalinguistic, and pragmatic skills
  • help students correctly interpret multiple-meaning words and phrases, such as homographs and homophones, idioms and proverbs, and metaphors and similes
  • teach a wide range of students, especially those who have language or learning disability, or are learning English as a second language
  • make learning fun with dozens of activities and a printable board game
  • work with students in small group or one-to-one settings
  • promote development of the skills students need to decode language complexities and humor cues independently when they occur in everyday language

To help professionals use the activities successfully, this book includes enlightening summaries of relevant research, background information on the language concepts, and specific techniques for presenting the activities and helping students generalize new skills in other settings. SLPs and educators will also get the practical content they need to implement the activities and assess student progress (see below).

A natural follow-up to Cecile Cyrul Spector's Sounds Like Fun, these engaging, effective activities will help students grasp the subtleties and complexities of the English language-so they can become more skillful readers and communicators.

With easy-to-use practical content:

  • Photocopiable forms for assessing a student's understanding of ambiguous language and humor
  • Full-color, easy-to-assemble game mat & both color- and icon-coded game cards—easy to print or photocopy
  • Printable template for creating additional game cards
  • Guide to common idioms and proverbs, including the ones used in the activities


"An excellent resource."
Review by: Andrea DeBruin-Parecki, Associate Professor, Early Childhood, Old Dominion University
"The author both teaches us and makes us laugh as she educates the reader about the perplexing language known as English."
Review by: Laura Justice, Professor, The Ohio State University, College of Education and Human Ecology
"Exemplary . . . offers a wealth of activities and suggestions for helping students develop skills in an area of language we too often neglect but which is so important to academic and social success."
Review by: Judy K. Montgomery, Chapman University, Former ASHA President
"Speech language pathologists need look no further for meaningful vocabulary and pragmatics interventions. Collaboration with educators and families has a new and effective tool. Spector's book will 'carry the banner' in vocabulary development for children and adults."
Review by: Virginia Mann, Professor of Cognitive Sciences, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine
"Takes the exercise of metalinguistics beyond the phoneme, to the realm of words and sentences . . . It is great to see the practical application of research in such an inviting, well-organized volume."

Table of Contents


About the Author


Unit 1: Multiple-Meaning Words

Unit 2: Multiple-Meaning Phrases

Unit 3: Multiple-Meaning Sentences

Unit 4: Sound Changes

Unit 5: Switching Sounds or Words

Unit 6: Stress and Pausing Changes

Unit 7: Challenge Activities

Answer Key
Appendix A: Recording Form
Appendix B: Glossary of Idioms and Proverbs


About This CD-ROM

Photocopiable Activities

Unit 1: Multiple-Meaning Words

Activity 1: Developing Sentences for Multiple-Meaning Words
Activity 2: Multiple-Meaning Words with Two Pronunciations
Activity 3: Using Homophomes in Sentences
Activity 4: Multiple-Meaning Words and Humor
Activity 5: Homophones and Humor

Unit 2: Multiple-Meaning Phrases

Activity 1: Idioms with the Same Meaning
Activity 2: Matching Proverbs with Their Definitions
Activity 3: Writing Paragraphs that Give Clues
Activity 4: Multiple-Meaning Phrases and HumorUnit 3: Multiple-Meaning Sentences

Unit 3: Multiple-Meaning Sentences

Activity: Multiple-Meaning Sentences and Humor

Unit 4: Sound Changes

Activity: Sound Changes and Humor

Unit 5: Switching Sounds or Words

Activity 1: Switching Sounds to Create Humor
Activity 2: Switching Words to Create Humor

Unit 6: Stress and Pausing Changes

Activity: Stress and Pausing Changes and Humor

Unit 7: Challenge Activities

Activity: Unraveling Complex Language

As Far As Words Go Game

Instructions for Play
Game Mat
Yellow Card Deck (multiple-meaning words)
Green Card Deck (multiple-meaning phrases)
Red Card Deck (multiple-meaning sentences, switching sounds or words, and stress and pausing changes)
Orange Card Deck (sound changes)
Blue Card Deck (challenge activities)

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