Q & A with EDITH HOPE FINE
CryptoMania! Teleporting into Greek and Latin with the CryptoKids
Written by Edith Hope Fine
Illustrated by Kim Doner
Author of CryptoMania! Teleporting into Greek and Latin with the CryptoKids!
Q. Briefly, what’s the story of CryptoMania!?
A. In CryptoMania! readers teleport with the CryptoKids into real and imaginary worlds, picking up key Greek and Latin word chunks along the way.
Q. How did CryptoMania! come about?
A. Being a logophile (one who loves words), I was teaching Greek and Latin to third graders at Park Dale Lane Elementary School near my house. When I invented zany dinosaurs to help students remember bits of Greek and Latin, the kids loved it. They became decoders. They made connections. They remembered. It was utterly exciting. That’s when I knew I had a book idea on my hands.
Q. How long did it take to write CryptoMania!?
A. From start to finish, this book took five years. Once the idea hit, it was a matter of finding the shape. An alphabet book wouldn’t work—you figure out why. A fiction novel didn’t work. Okay, about 47 formats wouldn’t work.
Once I finally figured out that each Teleporter destination would be a four-page pattern, the shape clicked:
- Right-hand Page: Intro to a new destination
- Double-page Spread: Themed destinations focusing on body parts, science, sound, numbers, and more.
- Left-hand Page: Destination wrap-up with new Logoscope words
Q. Why is it important that children have a feel for Greek and Latin?
A. The earlier students get their feet wet with Greek and Latin, the better. The linguistic roots introduced in these pages will remain the same through each student’s school years and will prove invaluable in all classes, from decoding science and math terms to the helping on the PSATs and SATs.
Q. How does CrytptoMania! fit in with state English and Language Arts standards?
A. While standards vary, more and more states are including Greek and Latin roots and affixes (prefixes and suffixes) in their educational frameworks. Educators nationwide know that a knowledge of Greek and Latin gives learners a boost in terms of vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, and reading. The average SAT verbal score for students who study Latin is 159 points higher than the overall average.
Digging into basic Greek and Latin helps students recognize roots, spell roots, and analyze large words for meaning. CryptoMania! provides 200+ Greek and Latin basic roots and affixes and serves as a springboard to further exploration of dictionaries and etymologies for the inside story on words.
Q. How would teachers best use CryptoMania! in the classroom?
A. The book is rich with material for students of all ages, grade levels, and abilities.
At the Elementary Level
This is a book to savor. You could spend a month on each Teleporter destination, starting with the word parts provided and having students branch out. With the Classical World, they could study the Olympics, read about Greek and Roman writers and leaders, learn about life in ancient times, and think about what life was like for kids their age.
Some students will be satisfied to follow the CryptoKids on their adventures, searching for clues to solve the mystery: “What is the key to new worlds?” They’ll marvel at Kim Doner’s astonishing art—she used a different art technique for each Teleporter destination. Other students will catch on that words in red are from Latin (think red for Roman) and words in green are from Greek. Some will hunt for BJ and Chee, the blue jay and squirrel, who add riddles and side comments.
At the Middle School and High School Levels
Stella, one of the CryptoKids, invents a Logoscope—a machine to look at (scop) words (logo). Word parts, such as tri- (three) and pod (foot) go into the machine; whole words, such as tripod (three feet) come out. Students can use the Logoscope pages for strengthening vocabulary and the glossaries for PSAT and SAT review with English to Greek/Latin, Greek/Latin to English, numbers, and suffixes—200 handy roots and affixes.
At the College Level
Terms found in math, science, literature, medicine and more are based in Greek and Latin. A college class can peruse the book, then dig for more words that stem from the Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes found in the book. Students not exposed earlier to Greek and Latin as the keys to unlocking English words will find the light, playful pages and the glossaries helpful in getting up to speed.
CryptoKids Decoder Program: Teleporting into Greek and Latin
Your school can become an official CryptoKids school with the CryptoKids Decoder Program
. You'll receive print-ready materials for this 34-week program. Each week, your volunteer coordinator gives teachers a list of four to six new Greek and Latin word chunks. Students record these in their own composition books. By the end of the school year, they have a collection of 200+ basic roots and affixes. Visit decoder kits
for complete details or email us
Looking for more ideas? The online Educator's Guide
posted at www.cryptokids.com provides loads of imaginative, hands-on projects and suggestions on incorporating CryptoMania! into your language arts program.
for FAQs about CryptoMania! and my other books.