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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Trading, Borrowing...and Learning Words

During my youth, I enjoyed completing crosswords. It is something I was certain I would continue into adulthood. But with kids and running from place to place, I'm not finding a lot of time to sit around and ponder letter and words to fit into the tiny squares. I continue to buy crossword puzzle books though. Stocking up for the days when a quiet moment--not spent on the computer--is the standard and not the exception. For a time when I don't have writing assignments or reading assignments or to help with my kids' homework assignments.
One thing is for sure, crossword puzzles helped my vocabulary when I did them frequently. They helped me think about words. Each letter leading to the next. This is probably not a news flash and should be a strong argument for me to re-engaging with a puzzle book.
When I recently read a book published decades ago, I read with pen and paper by my side. I frequently ran across and wrote down words I don't remember ever seeing before. For someone whose life revolves around words, it was a fabulous feeling to be picking up the dictionary. It was a similar feeling, for me, as when I would fill in a crossword puzzle. Using my brain for learning in a way that reached back to my youth.
I've since signed up to have a word of a day e-mailed to me to give myself a little daily vocabulary buzz.
Admittedly, I may not be able to use the words daily, but it feels good to be able to keep learning and growing vocabulary which, ultimately, will make me a stronger writer.
So, try to find a word today that is new to you. What is it?

Elizabeth King Humphrey loves to learn new words, read new books and write new blog posts.

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