Online Thesaurus Aids Utah Students

Online Thesaurus Aids Utah Students

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Kim Johnson reportingKids these days are more likely to look up information on a computer than dust off a book.

And educators have obliged. They've provided a way for students to expand their vocabularies with a few quick key strokes.

Kim Johnson shows us the interactive thesaurus.

Sharlene Beck teaches English and creative writing at Hillcrest High, and recently used the visual thesaurus to teach a Jane Austen classic.

Sharlene Beck: "I used the thesauras to show them, first of all, a variety of meanings for 'prejudice,' a variety of meanings for 'pride,' and that some of them could be positive and some of them negative, that both words had mulitiple connotations."

Visual thesaurus is the newest educational tool in Utah's pioneer online catalog. The site not only gives the user synonyms for a particular word, but definitions, pronounciations, and parts of speech.

Sharlene Beck: "It separates terms by part of speech. It separates the negative and positive connotations. And so in some ways it does more than the regular thesaurus does. For those kids who like to see the relationship amongst words it works very well."

Educators say it's useful for students whether in kindergarten, college, or somewhere in between.

Robbie Calvert/ Hillcrest High: "It helps a lot with English papers, like I was writing this really fun English paper, and it does make you sound a lot smarter."

Steve Summers/ Hillcrest High: "I'm not huge into English, but I'm always looking for new tools, and I can see great potential in it."

And this librarian says students should put that potential to use in honing their word skills over the summer.

Karen Berner: "Anybody that's teaching summer school, anyone taking summer classes, any students that just want to learn or who love words or who haven't yet learned to expand their vocabulary, can use it."

And Berner says the visual thesauras can aid students learning English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch.

And remember, the Utah legislature has paid for the service, so essentially it's free for all students, teachers, and patrons of public libraries.

If you need assistance accessing Visual Thesaurus, please contact your local school or public librarian or call 800-866-5852 or e-mail

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