Word Microscope is a computer program for exploring the structure of English words.
We chose the name Word Microscope because a microscope is a tool which looks closely at a specimen, uncovering its underlying structure and thereby allowing the observer greater insights into its fundamental nature.
Users of Word Microscope can peer inside a word to discover how it is built up. Its power goes beyond this because once you uncover these building blocks it can then help you construct other, related words and thereby expand your vocabulary.
Word Microscope can be used by individual learners or in a group setting, perhaps using an interactive white board.
It can be particularly useful to those who have been taught or exposed to phonics and are seeking clarity and insight into the morphology of words.
It is a helpful tool to assist with vocabulary development and an assistant to reading and spelling.
Word Microscope provides learners with an alternative to the traditional approaches of phonics and rote learning.
It helps answer two questions about words that improve both vocabulary and spelling:
Word Microscope is designed to help learners explore these questions while at the same time developing an inherent understanding of the structure of words.
Word Microscope is an exploratory tool for gaining a greater understanding of the morphology of the English writing system. It encourages the user to think for themselves.
Word Microscope provides a space where you can organise your thoughts about word structure in an unintrusive way, encouraging exploration and experimentation. If you want some help or to test your ideas, then you can use the Word Microscope's Ideas Probe.
Our aim is to create a dialogue with the learner to guide you through decisions you need to make to take you from your own chosen target word to a complete word matrix of related words.
Your starting point for an investigation is always a single specimen word. Word Microscope helps you analyse that word to identify its individiual morphemes that constitute its building blocks. It then encourages you to combine these in new ways to form a whole family of words, related in both meaning and spelling.
Word Microscope can help you organise your thoughts about words by helping you to make up word sums and word matrices: and in this way it encourages active and creative enquiry into the study of spelling and vocabulary.
Word Microscope, through its Ideas Probe, can tell you what it considers are the logical consequences of your actions and help you find links between words that you might not have thought of. The Ideas Probe can make suggestions which you will need to use your judgement and knowledge of the meaning of words to reject or select.