One of the saddest experiences in my teaching career was when one of my struggling students told me that their dictionary was being used as a T.V. stand. Many of my students struggle with word meaning and vocabulary. The majority of American students don’t see the value of their dictionary. Noah Webster stated, “the Dictionary was, next to the Bible, the great school book”. Do you have a good dictionary? A lot can be gleaned from this great book! Mr. Webster worked tirelessly on his American Dictionary. He took it with him on trips across oceans to continue to add new words to his volume. Webster believed that the dictionary would teach human virtues like self-control over one’s passions, overcome laziness, respect authority, love God, and help to maintain social order. Where has the excitement in learning gone? Kids in school today seem mostly unchallenged and almost “brain-dead”. Look at the book your student is reading. Is it meaningful in any way? Even book displays at stores are full of fun colors/illustrations, but what are they teaching? One way to challenge students is to have them use their dictionaries every day. I believe some of the greatest thinkers in our world use their dictionary often. A marathon runner from the United States in the last summer Olympics immigrated from a foreign country. His father instructed all his children to read the dictionary. Those children grew up into productive, thinking adults. Quite impressive, since they were new to America. Learning is possible and reading a dictionary will add color to a dull education.
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