Dictionary makes comeback at Avon elementary school

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It's a reference book that's been around for years, but for some area school children, getting their own copy is new and cool.

At Hickory Elementary School in Avon, third graders learn from the latest classroom technology like a computerized whiteboard.

"It helps you understand how to pronounce words," explained teacher Emily Waggoner.

But this high-tech lesson is focused on a reference book that dates back hundreds of years: the humble dictionary.

Many of them have had siblings who have come through and they think, 'Oh, we're gonna get a dictionary just like my older sister or older brother in there to keep.' It's really exciting. It's almost like a rite of passage," said Waggoner.

For the last five years, the Avon Education Foundation has paid for student dictionaries so each third grader can have one of their own.

"So this year we delivered 687 dictionaries and over the last five years, that means we've delivered about 3,500 dictionaries to students," said Pam DeWeese, Avon Education Foundation.

"It was really sweet and nice. I'm glad they gave it to me, because I don't have one here," said Ashley Lamb, student.

"I was reading books, so when I got stuck on words I started using my dictionary," said Mikey Black, student.

Emerald Richardson was confident the dictionary would help her.

"It's gonna help me learn a whole bunch of words so I can get smarter," she said.

In a world of spellcheck on word processors, autocorrect when writing emails, not to mention the intentional misspellings on text messages and tweets, personal dictionaries are turning out to be an effective remedy.

"Technology is evolving and changing that process. But having something physical in their hand is so important. You'll see that many kids evolve through their process as they become more comfortable, they need it for something as simple as practicing alphabetical order and even how to find a word," said Waggoner.

"When you think about it you use it for spelling, word comprehension, vocabulary skills," said DeWeese.

Teachers and students here have found, that even though technological learning tools will come and go, the dictionary will stay with them indefinitely.

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