Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School---Dictionaries

It is back to school time and parents are searching for anything that might help their child succeed. There are many reference tools that children can use but one of the most important tools is a good dictionary. Yes some kids use the Internet to find their information but most would agree that a dictionary is more than just a tool to help them spell or give a definition. {Having a book on the desk can be less distracting then running to the computer to look something up.} Dictionaries provide pronunciation guides, homonyms and synonyms. Some even provide sample sentences. Most dictionaries also provide maps or other reference materials that are useful for students. When I was working in the bookstore I would help parents, grandparents or even the child themselves pick out a dictionary by following a few rules. For example: if they were choosing between two different publishers or editions I would tell them to look up a word~ any word. Then I would have them compare the entries. Can they read it? Some printings may be hard to read due to font, color or size of print. Can they understand the explanation? Is there a coinciding illustration or photograph? I always like the photographs but some may like plain illustrations. They should take all these things and more into account. Then if they still couldn't decide then they could look at the price----sometimes a dollar or two can make the difference.

Above are two examples of popular children's dictionaries----remember just because it is popular may not mean it is the right one for you!

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