NOAH WEBSTER AND HIS WORDS: Instructional and Delightful Children’s Book

This interesting biography of Noah Webster, of dictionary fame, was written by Jeri Chase Ferris and illustrated masterfully by Vincent X. Kirsch. It was published by Houghton Mifflin Books in 2012.

Noah Webster wanted most of all for Americans to speak, write, and spell like Americans, not Englishmen, so the standardizing of American English was his life’s work. At the time he began to work on his “blue back speller,” the first AMERICAN textbook, words had no conformity of spelling from region to region.  For example, “mosquito” was spelled “mosquito”, miscitoe”, “mosquitor”, “musketeer”, or as Webster bemoaned, “…spelled 10 different ways in 10 different parts of the country.” Webster also included such American Indian words as “tomahawk”, native to America.  Finally in 1828 after a trip to the continent to discover etymologies of words, Webster published his “DIC-TION-AR-Y [noun: a book listing words in ABC order, telling what they mean and how to spell them].”

This delightful technique is used for all “big” words a youngster may be unfamiliar with. For example: “U-NITE [verb: make one]” and “The books SOARED [verb: flew off] the shelves.” is instructional, but fun too!

The book briefly notes the influence Noah Webster had on the United States, presented on a child’s level, and includes a wonderfully illustrated timeline in the back, “Noah Webster and the New United States”.

This was a delightful read for me, especially thanks to the illustrations, and I just wish I had a grandchild to share it with!


Author: Rae Longest

This year marks my fiftieth year in AAUW (American Association of University Women). The Alvin chapter was begun in 1947, and as a new, green teacher to Alvin Independent School District, I joined in 1968. In the 80's we began a book group to share our love of reading, books,and fellowship with other women and girls who loved the same. We resurrected the group on-line in September of 2015. Eventually Powerful Women Readers folded as an on-line book club, but I kept the title and turned it into a blog. (See "Introduction,"first blog). This is my first experience at blogging or publishing anything and is becomes more fun with each blog posted. I am currently teaching as an adjunct at The University of Houston Clear Lake. This makes my 28th year there after three years at Alvin Community College and an almost-twenty year career as a classroom teacher with Alvin Independent School District. Reading and writing are "in my blood" just like teaching is. I hope you enjoy the blog.

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