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Dictionaries are not Dinosaurs

When was the last time you picked up a dictionary? Okay, better yet, when was the last time you used an online dictionary, like or Merriam-Webster’s website?

Dictionaries are one of the most important tools during your time studying in elementary, middle, and high schools – even at a university. A good dictionary can help you understand your subject better, improve your communication and improve your grades by making sure you are using words correctly.

A dictionary is the first indispensable resource to improve your vocabulary. It is only by looking up a word in a dictionary that you will learn its precise meaning, spelling, alternate definitions, and find more useful information about it.


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The use of dictionaries resurfaced my interest as I was reading The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The Water Dancer was published in September 2019 and was referred to as a good book to read by Oprah Winfrey’s book club. The novel is set in pre-civil war Virginia, on a slave plantation called Lockless in Starfall, Elm County.

While reading The Water Dancer, there were several words I did not know how to pronounce and/or their meaning. I found myself searching for my cell phone to use the app to learn the definitions of these words. Admittedly, this was not something I practiced before the drastic expansion of the Internet and cell phone usage. It was extremely unlikely for me to stop reading my novel and seek out a dictionary to learn definitions and pronunciations. Contrarily, the ease of accessibility to the Internet and an abundance of information, I am more inclined to self-educate all types of subjects, including literacy.

Research shows that regular reading has countless benefits such as, improving brain connectivity, increasing your vocabulary and comprehension, and empowers you to empathize with other people.

Written by DeAnn M. Cox

Posted January 14, 2021 

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