A Message from Mary French, Director of The Dictionary Project
Fortunately the majority of teachers in America encourage children to use a dictionary to learn to spell words properly and recognize a word and its correct meaning. A dictionary teaches a child to be self-reliant. Every day we hear from civic organizations who want to participate in the Dictionary Project by giving dictionaries to students in their local schools, however they are being told by teachers and administrators that paperback dictionaries are outdated, old fashioned and no one uses them anymore. These teachers tell their eight year old students to Google a word to find the meaning. This is a shameful path for the teacher to lead the children on since it will not help their students learn to spell words properly and recognize a word and its correct meaning in the context in which it is used. Teaching children to use an iPad as a primary spelling resource will exacerbate illiteracy in our country because children do not know if they are looking at the right word. The teachers who turn down the gift of a dictionary from local residents on behalf of their students are insulting a caring individual and they are depriving the students of an essential tool for a quality education. A child cannot do his or her best work without a dictionary. Now that everyone has an iPad in school, educators believe the device is a teaching tool. The iPad was designed to be an advertising and entertainment platform. Americans spend more money on entertainment than they do on education; placing more value on entertainment. Actually Americans don’t spend billions on entertainment, they spend it in search of entertainment. Acquiring knowledge through reading is the best way to learn because reading sparks the imagination. A child builds his or her frame of reference by implementing ideas that come to their mind. The fact of the matter is that people get paid for what they know. If they want to make a contribution and earn a living they have to be more than spectators. Nothing will divide this nation more than ignorance and nothing can bring us together like educating our population.