Are lexicons becoming too racy for our children? Should dictionaries, encyclopedias and the thesaurus be justifiably placed on a controversial list of literature for school children? Recently I was reading an article about a school district that banned the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary from the bookshelves in their schools. While I believe that parents and guardians have every right to censor certain things in their children’s lives that could be potentially hazardous to their personal and spiritual development, I do not think that removing the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary from the bookshelves is the best and wisest scholarly decision to make.
All too often, I run into many elementary and high school students who rarely utilize a dictionary or thesaurus at all. The dictionary was a continuous required resource for my academic growth and advancement from elementary school through graduate school. It still remains a very important reference guide for knowledge and research that I use practically every day. When new words or jargon is used in an unfamiliar context while I am listening to speeches or reading a book, I jot down those words and refer to my old, tattered college dictionary or thesaurus for help.
While this is not a personal attack towards the advocates seeking to ban the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary from school shelves, it is a petition to proceed with caution when cloaking our children from certain educational resources that could prevent didactic vulnerability when they are not in our care. At the same time, this gives parents and guardians a great opportunity to teach their children about certain toxicities that could be detrimental to their welfare.
Here are twelve credible reasons to legitimate the continued use of lexicons in our school system:
1. It improves literacy and academic advancement.
2. It expands and develops your oral and written vocabulary.
3. It helps with understanding syllables, abbreviations, spelling and punctuations.
4. It assists in discovering the history of the English Language.
5. It reveals pronunciation symbols.
6. It helps when becoming familiar with the explanatory charts and explanatory notes.
7. You are able to understand signs and symbols.
8. You learn how to utilize the handbook of style.
9. You will learn geographical and biographical names.
10. It aids in understanding word origins and categories (i.e. noun, verb, adjective or adverb).
11. It is advantageous for verbal and written communication development.
12. It is an indispensable mechanism for students, leaders, writers, speakers and educators.
Let’s face it, in our world that is filled with advanced technology to research just about anything your heart desires, no matter where you look, in one way or another our children will be exposed to the good, bad and ugly. As much as we would like to shield them from the horrors of life, families have the opportunity and power to open consistent lines of communication to teach their children about morals, love, peace, and ethics, as well as the hazards of the diabolical.
The dictionary and thesaurus contain thousands of words and comprehensive references to invoke a willingness to enrich our intellectual capacity, awareness, edification and development. Banning these valuable educational resources from our school system may be the least of our societal worries.
Kym Gordon Moore is the author of “Diversities of Gifts: Same Spirit” and an ebook, “Alphabet Soup: 5 Main Ingredients for Turning Words into a Bowl of Hot Topics!” She is a contributing author for “C