October 21, 2011

The Meaning of Words: Friday Feature

Welcome to our Friday Feature: The Best Thing We Read this Week and Why. I'm a day behind (and a dollar short, but that's another story) on this one, but yesterday was the National Day on Writing. From the National Council of Teachers of English:

Why a National Day on Writing?In light of the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives, NCTE established October 20 as The National Day on Writing. The National Day on Writing:
  • points to the importance of writing instruction and practice at every grade level, for every student and in every subject area from preschool through university (see The Genteel Unteaching of America’s Poor),
  • emphasizes the lifelong process of learning to write and composing for different audiences, purposes, and occasions, and
  • encourages Americans to write and enjoy and learn from the writing of others.
Prior to yesterday, I never heard of this day but am so glad teachers are still emphasising writing. There's so much we can learn from great writers, from people who take the time to process life and record those thoughts.

Plus, this past Sunday, October 16, was Dictionary Day in honor of Noah Webster's birth on this date in 1758. Where would writers be without dictionaries? My dad had a nifty trick for teaching us vocabulary when we were kids. When we asked him what a word meant, he sent us to the dictionary to look it up and suggested we also look at the word above and below it. I learned some amazing new words that way.

Online dictionaries just aren't the same, although I appreciate the speed at which my kids can look up a word. I guess I'm just a bound book kind of gal in all things. I'm slowly embracing books married to technology, but nostalgic about the way things once were.

What do you miss most about traditional books and dictionaries?


Martha Giffen said...

I still adore books but after I got my Kindle a couple of years ago, I am slowly getting over it. Having a hard copy book is OK but to be able to download whatever I want whenever I want has been a real delight!

Tia Bach said...

Thanks, Martha! I'm coming around, but still miss some aspects of a book in my hands. Plus, I read in the bathtub which makes electronics problematic. ;-)