October 16, 2010

Dictionary Day – U.S.

This day celebrates the birthday of Noah Webster, who created a very famous American English dictionary. (He was born in Connecticut in 1758.) But more importantly, the day is supposed to highlight the importance of dictionary skills, correct spelling, and vocabulary.

Dictionary skills include looking for words in alphabetical order, scanning, using guide words (the words at the top of each dictionary page, which are the first and last words on that page), and understanding the information. Dictionaries show pronunciation, word origins, parts of speech, and definitions.

These skills are important, but not AS important these days, because we have free online dictionaries and spell check on our computers and sometimes even our phones.

The best way to improve your spelling and vocabulary is to read, read, read.

But you might also like to explore some of these websites:

  • Play the Dictionary Game.

This game is also called Fictionary or Balderdash. All you need to play is a rather large dictionary, paper and pencils. Here are the instructions. 

ZOOM has a slightly different version, but it just doesn't sound quite as fun!
  • Here is Quia – a Guide Word Game.

  • Here is a slide show about how to use a dictionary.

  • Merriam-Webster dictionary is online here!

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