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A More Organic Approach to Encouraging Students to Use the Dictionary

Motivating Students

A More Organic Approach to Encouraging Students to Use the Dictionary

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The imperative “Help Students Get the Dictionary Habit” is one of the headings in the 2001 edition of John C. Bean's book Engaging Ideas, specifically in a chapter called “Helping Students Read Difficult Texts.” Bean goes on to describe the importance of annotating unfamiliar words. Students, he says, should keep a dictionary nearby as they read. Today, of course, students have ready access to dictionaries through their electronic devices. My own institution (and many others, I imagine) offers students and faculty free access to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Access to a first-class dictionary, in short, is not a problem for today's budding critical readers.

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