The "Crazy about Words" class of the Lifetime Learning Program at Peconic Landing in Greenport, NY, delivers dictionaries each year to third graders at 9 schools on east Long Island. “Adopt a pet letter…” I urge the kids, after they’ve each been called up by name. “Now find the section in your dictionary devoted to that letter…”
I don’t believe any fabulous dignitary invited to speak and distribute diplomas at an Ivy League graduation could feel better than we do watching a gaggle of 8-9 year old boys and girls peek into a personalized copy of their very own first dictionary. The wriggling and giggling and sharing of discoveries as they flip the pages would give heart to anyone worried about the future of print.
“Next, look for a 5-letter word you don’t know, beginning with that letter,” I guide them.
This year, some of the children’s favorite new words were ‘knave’, ‘cache’, ‘dally’, and ‘hovel.’