Searching For The Right Online Dictionaries For K12 Pupils
If you think that a right dictionary is a dictionary where words are correctly transcribed, explained, all for the purpose the English Language learners understand the word they are looking for, you will definitely be making the wrong conclusion.
Maybe in the past, when our grandparents were learning languages, this was true, as there was not really much of a choice. But in our days, we know better than this. We definitely feel the need to diversify the selection of an English Language dictionary, depending on the pupils’ age we teach.
Why would this be the case, you might wonder?
If we have a technical dictionary (legal, engineering, or medical), we definitely need a standard dictionary or an extended version of the English language dictionary. The reason is simple; the terms in the technical dictionary are not sufficient to write the homework if you do not know the fundamental linguistic set of words present in the standard English Language dictionary.
Out from this point, I can say a couple of words why K12 pupils need to have a dictionary suited for their needs.
To make the case clearer, I hope you, as a teacher, will not give Ana Karenina book to 8-year-olds to read it, telling them that they can use the adult dictionary, with all complex definitions and phonetic symbols. There is no doubt, it will be very difficult for them to understand, not to mention the discouragements when they see the numerous meanings and idioms for a single dictionary entry.
Children’s dictionaries are compiled especially for children – with age-appropriate entries that are not just abridged versions of the adult dictionaries.
Kids benefit from a dictionary written with an understanding and simple style, according to their level of development, and the language they understand.
By including the terms that pupils encounter at school, the overcoming of the learning obstacles is achieved. Tailor-made examples of words to a context will relate children to make the job even easier. (For example, children ‘buy’ sweets, they don’t ‘buy’ a car).
As children and adults often use very different words for the same thing, this is another aspect that K12 have to have in mind. For example, the most frequent adjectives used by children include lovely, nice, safe, and bright, while those used by adults include public, political, social, and economic.
It is also important saying that there are numerous words in adult dictionaries that would not be appropriate for young readers, plus it will overburden the size of the search.
Children use dictionaries to learn how to look things up or to check spellings and meanings. They also check the common grammatical and punctuation errors. These are just more reasons why specific age-appropriate dictionaries on spelling, grammar, and punctuation, grounded on research that shows where children commonly have difficulties, are the best solution for K12 pupils.
Dictionaries compiled by experts, tested in schools, and supported by a database of thousands of examples of writing for children are the only solution to K12 learning progress. Dictionaries perfectly suited for children at different ages and topics of study can be fond both in hard copies and online.
These resources can be very useful, as they are available online and can be used everywhere students have access to the Internet and have a mobile device, a tablet or a computer.
Online Dictionaries For K12 Pupils: Which Are The Best?
So which online dictionaries for K12 pupils are ideal?
1. Oxford Dictionaries.
Oxford Dictionaries are the world’s best source of words, carefully developed for different age groups and all levels of education. It is difficult to compete with the editions Oxford makes, and they are top of the English Language resources.
2. Merriam–Webster’s Word Central.
Word Central is a Merriam–Webster edition created for language fun and excellent word power support. It has games and option to build your own dictionary, plus thesaurus.
3. Kids Wordsmyth.
Kids Wordsmyth has a pleasant user-friendly interface to use, making a word search interesting and easy. It is a lighter variation of the two listings above.
There are definitely more resources available online, but these trees are your top choice, and you really do not need anything else.
Having said the above, it is worth thinking about further diversification of dictionaries, specific for every subject, so that we can have better results in overcoming the learning obstacles among K12 pupils.
The more tailor-made resource they use, the better their knowledge will be expanded. There is no doubt that this is more convenient for the pupils, but the educators find them to be of great help. Pupils have resourceful tools to learn, and teachers have a more comprehensive source to refer to.
With the diversification of the topics that the pupils study at school, the necessity for developing these tools will increase. And this is definitely a good thing, beneficial for the education community, but also for the IT developers, who can work with the linguists to create more specific English language dictionaries for more specific pupils’ needs.
Author: Aleksandra Arsik