The fourth grade class is making headlines for finishing first nationally in their division of the 2015–2016 WordMaster Challenge. They even drew the attention of KERA reporter Courtney Collins, who produced a radio story on the class.
“Vocabulary is a tough sell for school kids, so a program called Word Masters tries to make it fun by challenging students across the country to compete with tricky analogy tests,” Courtney said in her story. “This school year, about 22,000 fourth graders took the first test. Fifty kids got a perfect score. Ten of them go to St. Mark’s in Dallas.”
Fourth grade teachers Lynn Terman and Janet Watkins have found a unique way of getting boys excited about vocabulary, as students often cheer when they find one of their WordMasters words in books or assignments. Rather than studying lengthy pages of vocabulary, WordMasters asks students to master about 75 words, learning their parts of speech, multiple definitions, and comprehending context.
“It’s great to have an understanding of many words and how you can use them," Felix Ruda ’24 told KERA. "It helps you with describing things because some simple words don’t describe things perfectly and you’ll have to go more in-depth.”
The WordMasters Challenge is a national competition for students in grades 3-8 that encourages growth in vocabulary and verbal reasoning. Each year, more than 125,000 students throughout the United State participate. This marks the second consecutive year that St. Mark’s fourth grade class has placed first nationally in their division.
St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.