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Diana Bianchini Headshot

Use It or Lose It -- The Departure of Vocabulary From American Culture

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Words matter. They make us fall in love, get angry, swoon, dream, fantasize, take action, and hate. So where has our lexicon gone in America? Dear Wordsmiths, we need all hands on deck.

In my opinion, it is not enough to give our kids lists of words, simply have them look up definitions, and memorize how to spell them. Words need to be heard, read, contextualized, applied, and internalized. The more words our children learn will make them better equipped for life as an adult. We are the influencers.

It is vital that teachers and parents engage students meaningfully with the words on which they are being tested every Friday. Words should be read aloud, written, and used in conversations. With the debilitating budget cuts to our school districts and with the loss of so many valuable teachers, our public education is on a steep decline. (It's astonishing to me that we can call our country a super power and yet we do not invest as a priority in the brainpower of our little ones who will lead this country one day for us all.) We cannot let the vocabularies of our children go underdeveloped.

With the rapid evolution of technology and communication, we have so many new and exciting words in our vocabulary to use. There is room for them all. Many people do not take the time to speak or write out entire words anymore. As a former college language and literature major, I celebrate the beauty of so many different ways to express ourselves through words. A rich vocabulary is sexy and attractive. Today as a publicist, parent, and a word lover, I draw on my vocabulary for communicating messages effectively. Building my vocabulary is essential to me.

Great ways to strengthen your vocabulary include reading, playing Scrabble and working on crossword puzzles. Writing can also keep your vocabulary flowing. There is value in the old school communication ways. May I suggest writing a letter to a special someone? The Art Of Manliness has a sweet entry on how to write a love letter. Building vocabulary can reinforce fun family time. Here are some fun online vocabulary games you can play with the whole family: Vocabulary Can be Fun!, Vocabulary.com and Freerice.com.

Litemind Blog's post "3 Reasons to Improve Your Vocabulary" is packed with fascinating facts and study statistics and is truly worth a read. The post includes a chart that compares occupational success to vocabulary scores.

Just a reminder that learning new vocabulary can be fun for everyone and is important for the preservation and growth of our language, communication and culture.

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." -Mark Twain