With my grandchildren, we recently read “Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia” one of a series by Peggy Parish about Amelia who takes words a little too literally. In this fun adventure, Amelia substitutes for the schoolteacher using a list of duties she is given. Amelia helps the class “call the roll” by placing a roll from a lunch box on the floor to call it! For science class, they are to “plant bulbs.” She does not recognize the dried up onions and instead goes to the store to buy light bulbs for the children to plant. For art they are to “paint pictures.” The students remove the pictures on the wall and add their own paints. To “practice play,” Amelia sends the children outside and tells them to start playing. In other books, there are similar fun misinterpretations. Amelia wonders why we are to “dust” the furniture; “undust” makes more sense to her; and a sponge cake certainly needs sponges as an ingredient! Do you ever feel like Amelia when communicating? Our language has many “figures of speech” and most words have multiple meanings. One way to overcome this “Ameliarizing” feeling is to play Rhymes & ‘Nyms and look up words and phrases using the handy links during game play or try a hard copy dictionary or thesaurus.

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