St. Michael's
A Resource for Orthodox Elementary Education
Santa Rosa, CA

Rummy Roots

If you are not able to teach Latin or Greek, but would like your children to appreciate the great part these ancient languages play in our English language, we whole-heartedly recommend Rummy Roots. This simple card game is a delightful way of learning the many Latin and Greek roots which are part of our everyday speech and writing.

The game has been described as

Fun to play, Rummy Roots card game teaches 42 of the many Greek and Latin roots that make up the English language. While playing these fun educational games students aren't even aware they are learning! Introduced in 1992 for home schooling, Rummy Roots games have won various awards over the years. The greatest award? Kids enjoy playing the games on their own!

Cathy Duffy, a well-known home-schooling advisor writes,

Rummy Roots is a card game that offers an alternative to book approaches for studying Greek and Latin roots. It is exceptionally well designed for learning purposes, because it includes instructions for four different games using a card deck of Greek and Latin roots plus English meanings. The first game helps students learn the meanings of the roots with a "Go Fish" type game. (Lists and glossaries for this and other games are included so you need not have a dictionary at hand.)

Once you are somewhat familiar with root meanings, you move on to the next game of combining two roots to make an English word. The method of play is different, plus it includes the use of "bonus" and "stump" cards for fun. Players are supposed to say the meanings of their words, but when we played it, we added that step after we played the game first just figuring out how to combine roots. (Take time to make sure players know the meanings of the roots before moving on to higher levels.)

The third game allows players to make words combining up to three roots. Stump cards are now used to challenge players on word definitions. The fourth game adds yet another dimension of difficulty.

Some educational games are so busy teaching that they forget that games are supposed to be fun. Rummy Roots avoided that mistake by adding enough game elements, especially once you get past the introductory game.

Rummy Roots teaches "...42 Greek and Latin roots, 193 vocabulary words, and the knowledge to decipher half of over 2000 other words." The publisher says the game is for players ages 8 to adult, but younger players will probably need to play mostly at the first two levels. Do not be in a hurry to push them on to levels where they might become frustrated. These [upper level] games are best for older students.

We can attest that these descriptions are true. More Roots, a second game, teaches an additional 42 new Greek and Latin roots using the same methods as Rummy Roots. Our students loved the games, and learned a lot in the midst of the fun.

Rummy Roots and More Roots are available at Rainbow Resources, as well as other retailers.