Today I was asked what online dictionaries I might recommend for a class using the library. This reminded of how I approach all requests for materials. The over-riding question for me is always what can I teach the students about using the Internet/library that they might not already know.
So here's what I recommended:
* have a look at the Internet Public Library site. On the left hand side-bar there is a heading titled "Ready Reference" and a sub-heading "Dictionaries". The dictionaries page offers a smorgasbord of choices with annotated links to sites with various thesauri, rhyming dictionaries, phrase finder and other more conventional dictionaries. I like Merriam Webster online as it gives auditory pronunciations for each entry as well the etymology.
* teach students about Google's definition search. Enter "define:cantaloupe" or whatever your word is.
* Visit the Librarian's Internet Index. This will give students experience in using a directory. lii showcases the wonderful variety of dictionaries available in many fields.
* If you subscribe to World Book Online it has a very easy to use dictionary.
* Can't remember a word but have the meaning? Try OneLook Reverse Dictionary. It also generates lists of related concepts or terms, finds crossword puzzle answers and answers basic identification questions such as "What is the capital of Canada?"
When I received the question I immediately emailed my group of fellow teacher librarians to see what ideas they had. So my clients have the benefit of several brains working on their query in addition to whatever lessons I can build in around the resources available.
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