Groovy Grammar: Fictionary

Groovy Grammar: Fictionary

In our Groovy Grammar Workshop taught by the fantabulicious Susanne Barrett, one of the activities is the creation of a “Fictionary,” a dictionary of fictitious words. Families may work together to create a Family Fictionary, or older students may work separately to each create their own Fictionaries.

A Groovy Grammar family created a video of their Family Fictionary, complete with illustrations!


The workshop empowers parents to implement a natural approach to teaching grammar. This workshop stands the whole concept of grammar on its head. Rather than studying terminology and dissecting sentences, students are encouraged to play with language, to explore how words bump up against each other and generate meaning. Words, in a variety of contexts, will spring to life in fresh ways, which enable kids and parents to discover the sheer power and joy of shifting syntax for shaping grammatical understanding. Writing is enhanced when kids deliberately thwart reader expectations and forge new grammatical relationships between the old, tired words everyone uses. Activities include:

  • Compiling personalized word lists
  • Running through the house assigning these words to items of their choice
  • Defining the relationships between meaning and words in their own words
  • Creating word sculptures
  • Authoring a personalized dictionary of made-up words
  • Analyzing “Jabberwocky” to identify parts of speech when applied to nonsense words
  • Writing their own poems which employ their personal lexicon of newly created terms

You’ll never see “verbs,” “nouns” and “adjectives” in the same way again. And your kids may even declare by class’s end: “I love grammar!”

Learn more about Fictionary and other groovy activities by clicking on the image!

Groovy Grammar Workshop

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