A sixth-grader and I are reading aloud together, taking turns, trading paragraphs. In the chunk that goes to him, he hits the word 'elaborate.' He stretches out the syllables, working to make sense of something new: eeee laaa boooh raaaay /t/, ee-la-boh-rayt.
"You got it," I tell him. "That's the verb, the action. If you start telling me a story, and then I say, 'Please, elaborate on the last part,' what am I asking you to do?"
The student thinks for a moment, then answers, "Add more to it, give details."
"Yes," I confirm. "But in the sentence you just read," I point at the book between us, "the word is used differently, and we pronounce it differently." The phrase under my finger is, the elaborate ice sculpture. "Here, the word's an adjective, describing the noun, the ice sculpture, not a verb. The adjective gets pronounced ee-la-boh-rit."
The student says the adjective aloud himself, almost tasting it. We swap guesses about its meaning now, how it's not the same as the verb form, but how it's similar. The ice sculpture must have a lot of details, my partner decides; it's not simple or plain.
"That makes sense," I say, and we proceed to read.
I know these iterations of 'elaborate' will deserve revisiting when we next see each other, after spring break. At that point, two weeks into the future from today, they'll merit elaboration, the vocabulary equivalent of a vaccination booster.