Ultimate Spelling For Education

Ultimate Spelling EDU is the world's most advanced spelling learning system for schools. With Ultimate Spelling, you have your spelling teaching requirements completely under control.

Based on proven science, Ultimate Spelling EDU contains all the features of Ultimate Spelling plus:

It's absolutely essential your students graduate with their spelling educational requirements met. With Ultimate Spelling EDU these spelling requirements are more than met. Students also improve academic performance, are prepared for standardized tests, and improve their confidence.

The next step is to see Ultimate Spelling for yourself. Simply fill out the form and we'll send you a free no obligation trial of the full version of Ultimate Spelling EDU.

The Science

Ultimate Spelling is scientifically designed, and utilizes principles based on decades of research in learning, retention, and psychology. Here is a summary of the theory and research behind Ultimate Spelling's effectiveness.

Craik, F., and Tulving, E. "Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic memory." Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol 104(3) (1975): 268-294. Print and PDF. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.104.3.268

In this seminal study performed at the University of Toronto, Canada, the authors performed a series of tests in which they gave the study participants a sequence of words to learn, with information related to each word as it appeared in order. They discovered that when the information provided stimulated the participant's brain to process the word on a more involved level (referred to as "deep encoding" or "degree of elaboration" in the study), that word was more effectively learned and remembered. With Ultimate Spelling, the user is given a wide range of additional information about each spelling word, including the word's definition - one of the key factors in enhanced memory, according to this study - as well as usage examples, synonyms, and antonyms.

Gelman, B.D., Gruber, M.J., and Ranganath, C. "States of Curiosity Modulate Hippocampus-Dependent Learning via the Dopaminergic Circuit." Neuron, 22 October 2014, 84(2): 486-496. Web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.08.060

Students who are eager to learn are more likely to remember what they have learned, something that the authors of this study demonstrate. They used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show real-time connections between a person's curiosity about a specific topic, and the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and the brain's reward system. The authors also concluded that a higher level of interest and curiosity in a topic or question leads to better memory and enhanced learning. Including exercises that stimulate curiosity, and providing reward mechanisms as part of the study process, also increases a person's ability to absorb and retain information, as the researchers found. Ultimate Spelling has a text import feature that allows each user to include and incorporate practice material that matches their interests, while learning the spelling of words in those texts. The system also uses several different reward systems to encourage users to continue working towards their defined goals.

Garcia, S.M., Tor, A., and Schiff, T.M. "The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective." Perspectives on Psychological Science, November 2013, 8(6):634-650. Print and web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1745691613504114

Each person is influenced by a unique set of factors related to their own status and progress towards goals, but is also affected to a greater or lesser degree by the achievements and perceived standards of the people around them. This analysis of past and current studies looks at the way people view and are motivated by individual goals as well as societal achievement (competition). The authors conclude that effective use of motivational strategies must take both into account. This is something that Ultimate Spelling accomplishes by providing each user with the ability to set personal goals, earn reward points, and view their own progress tracking reports, and also to publish all of those results on public social media platforms.

Kivetz, R., Urminsky, O., and Zheng, Y. "The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected: Purchase Acceleration, Illusionary Goal Progress, and Customer Retention." Journal of Marketing Research, February 2006, 43(1):39-58. Web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1509/jmkr.43.1.39

In a study focusing on the influence of reward-scheme programs on behavior, the authors found that when people see visible progress towards their goals they are more likely to increase the activity required to reach those goals. The study also confirms that most people are also motivated by receiving rewards for completing specific activities, even if those rewards are not immediately transferable to actual material or monetary benefits. Status points, rewards, and real-time progress tracking are all methods used in Ultimate Spelling to encourage frequent spelling practice by awarding points for the completion of exercises and activities. Because the user can access their progress charts at any time, they will always be able to see how close they are to achieving their personal spelling goals.

Buton, M., Winterbauer, N., and Todd, T. "Relapse processes after the extinction of instrumental learning: Renewal, resurgence, and reacquisition." Behavioural Processes, May 2012, 90(1): 130–141. Print and web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2012.03.004

Instrumental learning, also called "operant conditioning," is a method by which behaviors are learned in connection with a stimulus, a reward, or both. In this research done at the University of Vermont, the authors studied the ways in which the information connected to a specific behavior is retained when the stimulus is removed, and how subsequent repetition or reward reinforces information recall and a resumption of previously learned behaviors. They conclude that there are two primary methods of reinforcing active memory and behavior: by creating a different way to test the subject's memory, and by providing the opportunity for intensive focused repetition of that stimulus-behavior response. These two methods are widely used in the Ultimate Spelling activities and games to create the link between instruction and memory that is so crucial in effective spelling learning on the student's part.

Xue, G., Mei, L., Chen, C., Lu, Z-L., Poldrack, R., Dong, Q. "Spaced Learning Enhances Subsequent Recognition Memory by Reducing Neural Repetition Suppression." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2011;23(7):1624-1633. Print and web. http://doi:10.1162/jocn.2010.21532

In this study comparing long-term and short-term memory, the study authors tested the neural activity of participants as they memorized a set of images. Half of the study participants used massed learning techniques, in which each new image was presented multiple times in a row; the other half were given the images in a spaced repetition mode, where the images were shown in alternating order. Although each participant saw each image the same number of times, the people in the spaced-repetition exercise were able to accurately remember more images, and for a longer period of time. Repetition is a key technique in learning spelling, and Ultimate Spelling incorporates spaced repetition in two ways. First, the system uses randomized selection of spelling words from the user's current list to populate the activities and exercises, ensuring an interval between word reviews. Second, the system's Word Discover feature provides pop-up instant review of the words on that list, again in random order. By providing users with multiple opportunities throughout the day to read and review their words, Ultimate Spelling provides all of the benefits of the spaced repetition methodology in its spelling instruction.

Blocki, J., Cranor, L., Datta, A., and Komanduri, S. "Spaced Repetition and Mnemonics Enable Recall of Multiple Strong Passwords." Cornell University Library, January 3, 2015. PDF. http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.1490v2

Spaced repetition is a memory training tool that relies on frequent and consistent review of information; mnemonics is a memory technique that involves multiple ways of looking at that information, such as the incorporation of images or story lines. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University focused on the combination of spaced repetition and mnemonics in evaluating how best to train people to remember specific pieces of information: computer passwords. They found that by combining the two methodologies, the results in both ease of learning and retention were increased. Ultimate Spelling uses each method separately and together to help users learn and remember new spelling words by using the same words in multiple exercises, presenting spelling words in a variety of formats, and encouraging users to add information related to each word to make a personal connection that helps them to remember that word and its correct spelling.

Making Reading And Learning Fun

You’ve heard about BYOB, something that often makes parties more fun (and certainly livelier!). But have you heard about BYOD? It’s a new program that 5th grade students are participating in at Ely Elementary School in Elyria, Ohio, called “Bring Your Own Device.” Rather than banning cell phones, smartphones, laptops, and e-readers from the classroom, kids are encouraged to bring their devices to school and use them in the specially-designed classroom activities. For children who don’t have their own devices, the school provides them, and there are 15 wi-fi hotspots in the school. The students use their devices for math class geometry, social studies research, and reading practice. It’s encouraging productive interaction, which is helping the students learn how to work collaboratively on tasks. Teachers enjoy the fact that even if students are still texting to each other during class time, at least now it’s messages and questions about the project they’re working on together.

Ely Elementary is one of the latest schools to implement this pilot program, also known as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology). Schools from Arizona to Florida are rolling out their own versions of the program, though there is no one national trend yet. However, most school districts have websites – using technology to promote technology – to share tips and experiences to help their colleagues across the country. Schools in the UK and Australia are also considering joining the movement.

Because kids in the 21st century are growing up surrounded by technology, it only makes sense to incorporate it into their lives and studies in a way that makes it productive. If you know a student who doesn’t enjoy reading books, see if using an e-reader changes their attitude. Spelling games can turn quizzes into entertainment, and even simply using computer game time as a reward for a good study session can motivate students to learn. With all of the e-books available with one click of the mouse, you might find that kids are eager to choose from the wide variety of e-books they can find through online stores like Amazon or through your local library. If you can see that your kids are having fun using technology, then it makes sense to use technology to help them have fun reading and learning.

Cross-posted on the Product Name blog.

English Vocabulary Practice: Words With Multiple Meanings

Sometimes we think it would be nice if all English words had a single meaning, so that communication would always be clear and direct and misunderstandings avoided. On the other hand, much of the pleasure of the English language comes from playing with words, using them to paint descriptive images or simply making a joke or pun. The flexibility of the English language comes in large part from the fact that many words do have several definitions, some related and others completely different. For example, consider this sentence:

Jennifer’s regal bearing as she was bearing the box of bearings to the customer was more suited to a procession than a delivery, but that has no bearing on the complaint the customer later filed.

If you’ve lost your bearings trying to work your way through this sentence, it’s not surprising. To lose one’s bearings means to get lost, usually temporarily. In this sense, the word bearings refers to your position relative to points of reference or direction. When you take a bearing you ascertain your physical location using a compass, a map, or the geographical markers around you (or a combination of the three). This phrase is also used in a metaphorical sense; you might need to get your bearings after being shocked by news of a tragedy, or learning something that radically alters your plans.

Your bearing also means your demeanor or posture, the way you hold your body while sitting, standing, or moving. A person’s bearing can be confident and self-assured as they stand in front of their audience while giving a speech. Someone can also have a haughty bearing, perhaps showing that they are overly proud and self-important.

The word bearing is the present participle of the verb to bear, or “to carry.” You might bear a burden of guilt for something you did to hurt someone else. Women in many African tribes bear heavy jugs of water on their heads.

When speaking of machines and other mechanical devices, bearings are things that reduce friction, such as the commonly-used ball bearings. We assume that Jennifer’s regal bearing allowed her to carry the box without spilling all of the ball bearings on the floor.

Bearing can also mean relevance. A judge might dismiss a piece of evidence if it has no bearing on the case, saying that it is not pertinent to the matter at hand.

Because the words you learn may have multiple meanings, and because many of those meanings may be useful to you, it’s a good idea to do some research when you choose a word to learn to make sure you know all of its current definitions. If you disagree, re-read this post, in which we’re bearing witness to the importance of appreciating and using the many possibilities of the English language!

Think Before You Speak: Microagression And Why Words Can Actually Hurt You

5 Tips on How to Properly Write Business and Office Related Communications

Writing skills are a must when it comes to office correspondence. Most people take a casual approach to writing memos, interoffice notes, emails or anything else that their peers and managers read. This can prove to be a mistake that is hampering your chances for advancement or a raise.

This should not come as a surprise. Office communication often starts with an email or a memo and serves as a first impression in many cases. Research shows that 70% of people interact with business associates via email before they ever get a chance to meet in person.

This is why written office communications are a slippery slope. They set the tone for most of the interactions you have at work. You might feel the need to be funny or friendly, especially if you’re writing to a colleague you interact with often. Avoid doing that because office communications are monitored and you never know who else might be reading your emails.

Be clear and concise

Regardless of what type of document you are writing, make sure it is easy to understand and that it gets straight to the point whenever possible. The best way to ensure your writing is clear is to know what you want to say before you sit down to write it. If you’re not sure about what you’re saying, how can a person reading your email or a proposal be?

Use proper vocabulary

This is an important one. First off, refrain from using abbreviations or street jargon, and makes you look unprofessional. Also, consider the audience. You can get technical with your peers and colleagues if they are working in the same department and have the same background as you. However, refrain from using technical terms if you’re uncertain that everyone who needs to read it will be able to follow. If they are absolutely essential, make sure to include an explanation of terms in an appendix.

Also, make sure to proofread everything. Frequent grammar and spelling errors will start hurting your credibility and, while your colleagues might get a laugh out of them, you’re hardly doing yourself any favors in front of your boss.

Also, you can check out some of these online writing tools. Using them will help you communicate more effectively and even teach you a thing or two.

Grammarly – Use Grammarly to check your grammar, spelling and punctuation. Bad writing skills are a sure way of undermining your authority so make sure you’re sending out proofread and spell-checked writing. This free tool will make all that easier for you.

Thesaurus – If you’re writing a lot of emails, chances are your writing is drab and boring and that you’re using the same words all the time. Using this online tool will help you expand your vocabulary and find the right words for your content.

Gorgias – Gorgias allows you create email templates and works with Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo. If you’re losing time on writing, essentially, the same stuff, kick up your productivity with Gorgias and start sending out emails written in just a few keystrokes.

AussieWriter – Sometimes, your writing skills just won’t be good enough. Whether it’s an extensive business plan, a speech or a client pitch, you will have to enlist someone to help you out. AussieWriter is a reputable writing service that can get the job done affordably and quickly.

Enloop – If you need some help with writing a killer business plan, this online tool will prove to be a great asset. It automates the process, and gives you a step-by-step plan to follow that will eventually result in a great business proposal.

MailMentor – MailMentor is a free online tool you can use to check the readability of your emails. It will let you know if your writing is too long, too complex, or too difficult to read and offer actionable advice on how you can improve it.

Stick to the point

When writing an email, think of a single point you want to communicate and stick with it. If you need to have a lengthy discussion with someone, either schedule a meeting or set up a call, don’t write a mile-long email. This is because busy people don’t have time to read your musings. When you start veering off the topic, they start losing interest.

Include a clear call to action

Sometimes you want people to react to an email or an internal memo a certain way. Most people assume others will know how to react. Don’t bet on it. Include a clear call to action, specifying what the next steps are and are there any deadlines to be respected. Removing guesswork out of the equation gets things done much faster.

Be courteous but professional

Don’t allow your emails to saw discord and start office-wide hostilities. Always maintain a professional and courteous tone throughout your written communication. If you have some bad new to deliver, think about doing it in person or in a call. If you have something unpleasant to write to a colleague or a subordinate, make sure to do it in a tactful and unaggressive way.

A bit of courtesy will get you a long way, but avoid getting too personal or friendly in written communication, regardless of how well you might know someone. It gives an impression that you cannot separate your personal from your professional life and reflects poorly on you.

These tips will help you communicate better in both your professional and personal life. They will also go a long way in making sure that everything is communicated in a clear manner so to avoid any misunderstandings.  

Author’s Bio
Being a coach, Amy Cowen has a great experience of work with students  and young people – from providing assignment writing help at Galaxyessay to giving career advice. She often writes for different blogs in her free time.

5 Simple Exercises to Become a Proofreading Master

Joan Selby

Take a moment to think: how much text have you written throughout last week? No, we’re not talking about actual writing with pen on paper; it seems like no one does that nowadays. We’re talking about texts, emails, social media updates, comments on blog posts and Reddit, reports for your boss if you’re working, homework assignments if you’re a student…

Now think: did you proofread all that content? If you’re like most other people, you probably thought that proofreading was a waste of time because you were in a hurry to send the messages and updates. You’re wrong! The least you could do is starting using the Ultimate Spelling spellchecker, which will instantly improve the impression you’re leaving with your writing.

Michelle Roberts, a professional proofreader from EduGeeksClub.com, explains how important it is for people to proofread every single sentence they write: “Weak instead of week, your instead of you’re, bitch instead of beach… I’ve seen plenty of misspellings throughout my career and let me tell you one thing: they are embarrassing. Are you one of those people who don’t care about spelling because they think no one else cares? Guess what: your teachers care, your potential employers care, and all people you contact definitely care about the way you spell.”

An automated spellchecker will help a lot, but keep in mind that it lacks the human element, so you’ll have to make at least some effort to proofread on your own. Don’t worry; that’s not an overwhelming challenge. Continue reading and you’ll find few simple exercises, which will help you to become the proofreading master.

5 Proofreading Exercises to Try

Exercise 1: Find 7 errors in the following text:

Do you think practice make perfect? It does, but only when you’re practice is proper. When your used to wrong spelling, your contunuously practicing the mistakes. If you have doubts of the way you spell, than you need to check a dictionary. Write the misspelled words in your personnel dictionary and practice proper writing.   

Exercise 2: Retype the following text in a word processor, but make sure to correct the mistakes along the way. You should identify 7 mistakes.

Margaret Thatcher was one of the most famous politician in the history of Great Britain. She was the leader of the conservative party for 15 years, and a Primer Minster of UK for 11 years. She got the nick name Iron Lady because of her tough leadership style.

Before becoming a barister, she was a research chemist. Thatcher became the first women to lead a major political party in the UK.  

Exercise 3: Read this passage out loud. Is there something wrong with it? Then, retype it to correct the mistakes!

I have an inovative idea: lets practice mispeling and usage wrong gramar as much as possible. Who cares if people cant understand what I write? Ill leave it all to spelcheck to corect. I beleive in the prinsiple of freedom, we shouldnt waste time on proofraeding.

Exercise 4: Retype this text without reading it first. Try to correct the mistakes as you go.

It was realy cold yesterday.  Everyone were wearing coats. There hands were cold and there faces unhappy. People were standing like statues waiting for the next bus, and they were verry quet to. Yesterday wasnt a good day.  

Exercise 5: Make sure to correct the following sentences regarding proper use of apostrophe.

In my honest opinion, those were our table’s. However, Richards children looked so disappointed, that we had to look for another place to sit. We found four table’s near the windows and everyone was happy at the end. Seeing the childrens’ smiles was a precious moment for us, knowing that we did something good.

Answers to the Exercises

Be careful; don’t read these answers before you practice the exercises above. The point in practicing is to make your own efforts. With time, you’ll get better at proofreading and you’ll start writing much cleaner text. Now, check out the answers to the exercises above, and see if you got the right answers:

Answer to exercise 1

Do you think practice makes perfect? It does, but only when your practice is proper. When you’re used to wrong spelling, you’re continuously practicing the mistakes. If you have doubts of the way you spell, then you need to check a dictionary. Write the misspelled words in your personal dictionary and practice proper writing.

Answer to exercise 2

Margaret Thatcher was one of the most famous politicians in the history of Great Britain. She was the leader of the Conservative Party for 15 years, and a Primer Minister of UK for 11 years. She got the nickname Iron Lady because of her tough leadership style.

Before becoming a barrister, she was a research chemist. Thatcher became the first woman to lead a major political party in the UK.  

Answer to exercise 3

I have an innovative idea: let’s practice misspelling and using wrong grammar as much as possible. Who cares if people can’t understand what I write? I’ll leave it all to spell-checker to correct. I believe in the principle of freedom. We shouldn’t waste time on proofreading.

Answer to exercise 4

It was really cold yesterday.  Everyone was wearing coats. Their hands were cold and their faces unhappy. People were standing like statues waiting for the next bus, and they were very quiet too. Yesterday wasn’t a good day.

Answer to exercise 5

In my honest opinion, those were our tables. However, Richard’s children looked so disappointed, that we had to look for another place to sit. We found four tables near the windows and everyone was happy at the end. Seeing the children’s smiles was a precious moment for us, knowing that we did something good.

Now, Practice Proofreading!

You’ll find chances to practice everywhere around you. Billboards, Facebook statuses, tweets, and blog posts – all these resources are great for finding spelling mistakes. Remember: every single thing you write makes an impression. When you want to leave an impression of a smart, well-educated individual, you have to proofread your text!   

Author’s BioJoan Selby is an ESL teacher and blogger from sunny California. Former CalArts graduate and fancy shoelover. A writer by day and reader by night. Giving creative touch to everything. Find her on Twitter and Facebook

7 Things To Remember When Blogging For Business

Online business marketing requires a comprehensive strategy if it is to have any chances of increasing sales and profits. One often overlooked aspect of business marketing is blogging, which if done strategically can boost your online presence, make your brand more relevant, and of course encourage lead generation and sales.

To be successful, business blogging needs to follow the foolproof tactics that big firms are using and which have been proven to work. Business size is truly irrelevant, as the Internet is an equally accessible tool for marketing your business online.

So what’s worth implementing and what’s no longer efficient when it comes to business blogging rules?

Offer relevant, significant insights, ideas and tools.

Don’t advertise your company or small business. No one likes a shameless advertiser. Rather, actively and substantially create content that’s meaningful and significant to your readers. Think about it. If your content is first-class, your followers won’t think twice, they will spread the word, simply because they find value in your blogging.

Become your industry’s ambassador

Rather than focusing on what you do and what you’ve achieved, it’s more worthwhile to share with your followers what your industry does and where it’s heading.

Give them access to facts, strategies, and ideas otherwise inaccessible to them. Becoming a reporter on your own niche or industry offers much more value than simply sharing one single perspective. Focus on the wider picture, give your readers a sneak peek into your industry as a whole – its trends, its new tools, the long-forsaken approaches, the promising new potentials.

By committing to providing persistently valuable content that’s sharable and valuable you ensure your blogging efforts will pay off.

Prove your value as an industry expert

There are many, many bloggers out there. To stand out, you have to establish yourself as an industry expert. This of course cannot be done overnight; it requires commitment, passion, and a plan.

What sets expert bloggers apart from the crowd is that their followers automatically turn to their blog as a resource of valuable, up-to-date content; readers know they blog about significant and tangible issues. An industry expert is a passionate professional who’s always ahead of trends, in line with current approaches, and has sound, fact-based viewpoints on their industry’s future. These are reasons why expert bloggers develop a solid, ever-increasing following.

What’s more, an industry expert shares ideas or insights bound to overhaul their industry or the way people conceptualize it. Can you be such a blogging expert?

Be part of your community of readers

Blogging is not about accentuating hierarchical differences or the consumer-business relationship.

If you advertise your product constantly, you drive your readers away; if you interact with them you increase engagement. Dial down any loud differences, don’t demand, don’t dictate. Instead, share, inquire and respond to your readership. Efficient blogging rests on the idea of you being a true part of the community you’ve created.

Encourage reader engagement

Bloggers tend to lose readers because they assume a falsely superior stance in relation to those readers. Expert bloggers, on the other hand, are the ones who creatively, persistently and strategically engage with their readers. By doing this, they tend to increase their readership and encourage follower loyalty.

Follow back your readers, comment on their reactions, share their ideas, answer their questions and overall engage with them at every level possible through your blog platform and other social media to ensure they will continue reading your blog.

Don’t just assume you know what readers want. Listen to their ever-changing needs, eavesdrop on what they’d like to read about, and provide it to them. And don’t forget to reward followers and readers with special, super-great quality content through email newsletters, exclusive free downloads, or promotions of ebooks and products  that might be of use for them.

Be unique, fresh and unconventional

Don’t just recycle others’ ideas, find new perspectives to look at things from, and stretch out your scope of issues to discover new approaches to existing ideas.

Do your share of curation; show your readers other trusted resources for valuable content similar to yours. Show your skills in critically processing different viewpoints or approaches and your ability to express a uniquely different, but equally valuable, interpretation.

But don’t forget to provide unique, fresh content regularly on your own site. This is what will establish you as an authority and the go-to blog for the latest developments in your industry or niche.

Engage with leading experts in your field

Don’t shut yourself out of the world. Doing interviews, holding mini webinars, or having giveaways for dedicated followers is a great way to strengthen the reader-blogger bond and consolidate long-term loyalty.

Invite guest bloggers to your site. It increases both blogs’ exposure to new audiences and it provides new ideas and strategies, all the while reminding your readers of your active involvement in your industry. Ask top bloggers to be featured in their blogs as a guest blogger or encourage others to do the same at yours.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

Cross-posted on the Ultimate Vocabulary blog.

Learn the Complete History of the English Language in Just 10 Minutes

How Did April Get Its Name?

Ever wonder why the months are named the way they are? What is it about the last month of the year that makes “December” an apt name for it? What about April and March – what are their stories?

We know for certain that for August through December, the months’ name correspond to their order of appearing in the year. September was the seventh month, October the eighth and so on, back when March was the first month of the year. However, April’s name has nothing to do to its position in the sequence.

April, the blossoming of Nature

The most prevalent theory as to how April got its name says that it goes back to the Latin word ‘aprilis’ and the verb ‘aperire,’ both of which denote an opening, to open, or blossom. This is a well-grounded hypothesis considering that April is the time when both animals and nature resume their activities after the long winter. Signaling this activity by naming the month after it seems like a sensible thing to do.

Another theory, however, says that ‘April’ got its name from the Greek goddess of Beauty and Love, Aphrodite. Again, this could be seen as an attempt to denote the beauty of this time of the year as the trees and flowers begin to blossom, showing off their radiant colors.

April is a month commonly mentioned in literary works, music and other forms of oral culture and arts. T. S. Eliot’s Waste Land opens with the line: “April is the cruellest month” and George Orwell’s 1984 novel opens with this strong image:

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks  were striking thirteen.”

April Proverbs and Sayings

Cultures around the world have proverbs about the month of April that help us better understand the significance and role it had to play in their daily lives.

“March Winds and April showers bring forth May flowers”

This well-known proverb perfectly illustrates how the weather in March and April ensures the abundance of May and early summer.

This proverb signals the anticipation of spring and all the images this conjures up of blossoming flowers and buzzing nature. In many countries and especially the UK and Ireland, April has heavy rain (or ‘April showers’) due to the jet stream.  The Spanish face the same phenomenon as illustrated by their own saying which is very similar: “En abril, aguas mil.” This proverb says that during the month of April, there’s a lot of rain, ‘millions of water.’

In previous centuries when people use to forecast weather based on the weather of particular days and months, April was among the months whose weather was under scrutiny. Such forecasts include:

– After a wet April, a dry June

– Fogs in April, floods in June

– Moist April, clear June.

At the same time, the French have a saying that counsels patience. The proverb says that April is not yet the time to don your summer outfits:

-En avril, ne te découvre pas d’un fil.

The French caution you not to put away your winter clothes yet as cold is still a fact.

Is there a special proverb or saying in your language about April? Let us know in the comments below!

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

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Listen, Learn and Be Nice: Good Advice From Young and Old

Can Wikipedia Be Considered A Respectable Academic Source?

Elizabeth Farquhar

The first line of Wikipedia’s own article on citations says it all: “As with any source, especially one of unknown authorship, you should be wary and independently verify the accuracy of Wikipedia information if possible.” Students, researchers, and anyone else looking for information on a topic have the responsibility to make sure they’re using the latest resources possible. Because Wikipedia is generally updated much more quickly than printed resources, you’ll probably be better off starting your search for information with the Wikipedia entry on the topic. But that’s not where you should stop, if you plan on using the information you find in a research paper you need to hand in to your science teacher, or the article you’d like to get published in an academic journal. Make sure you follow the links back to the source of that information, so that you can read what the original author wrote. There are several reasons to do this:

You’ll find more details, especially when it comes to facts and figures. The internet may be infinite, but few researchers have the time to duplicate every word and image from a 10-page article on insomnia in fruit flies into a corresponding Wikipedia entry. However, a link to that article can easily take you from the entry to the original publication, where you’ll see exactly what those researchers were working on.

You’ll find information you didn’t even know you were looking for. Even if you didn’t know about eReflect’s educational software, you’ll be directed to the company’s Wikipedia page where you can get information on speed reading, touch typing techniques, spelling tutor programs, or English vocabulary improvement.

You’ll get a new perspective and new ideas from knowledgeable people around the world. There are so many people contributing to Wikipedia that the amount of information is only limited by the time they have to add their pieces to the global research network.

You’ll be able to cite the original reference material in your own work. Many educational institutions, professional associations, and academic organizations will not allow you to list Wikipedia as a primary information source.

It’s not that Wikipedia isn’t a respectable academic source, but the editors of this worldwide reference tool remind people that it is just a source: the place where you can find links to more expanded information from the original authors, whose works you can confidently cite in your article, term paper, dissertation, or Wikipedia entry of your own.

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