Fifth Rule for Surviving High School

Use a dictionary! If you, the eighth grader preparing to ascend to high school, have trouble with certain words in some piece of literature (particularly the preceding), get a dictionary and use it. Having a sizable vocabulary is essential to your success as a student and, later on, as a citizen and member of society. And, perhaps, most importantly, it makes you look smarter. (Looks can be deceiving.)

Reading online makes checking unfamiliar words especially easy. When browsing Fictionpress, you can highlight a word and press Ctrl and D on your keyboard to summon up a dictionary definition. Some other websites and programs also have this feature. Otherwise, online dictionaries are abundant. I recommend the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary—that's the one I use. Many people also use Dictionary, which draws definitions from several sources, much like Fictionpress's dictionary function does. Plus, Dictionary online is where many online word games (particularly those at Yahoo) verify words and their definitions. Word games are also a fun way to exercise and expand your vocabulary.

Especially for those of us who are readers and writers (as we on Fictionpress are!), vocabulary is extremely important and practice with it can phenomenally enhance our performance and experience. Here are a few resources concerning dictionaries and games which can keep us on our linguistic toes:

Dictionaries and Thesauri (dictionary also functioning as a thesaurus marked with †)
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary† (www dot m-w dot com)
Dictionary online† (www dot dictionary dot com)
Fictionpress dictionary (www dot fictionpress dot come slash dictionary dot php)

Word Games (recommended marked with †)
TextTwist (at MSN Gaming Zone and Yahoo Games)
Bookworm (at MSN Gaming Zone); Bespelled (same game at Yahoo Games)
Literati (a Scrabble knockoff at Yahoo)
and many others; browse the sites to find the ones you like best!

I'm sorry I can't provide links, but apparently Fictionpress is a bunch of fascists and they don't let me include hyperlinks...
Word game main sites are: www dot zone dot com, games dot yahoo dot com (no www)

Author's Notes: I wrote this pretty much on the spot in response to reviews, both online and personal, concerning the intended audience of Four Rules for Surviving High School. Many reported that the vocabulary was too advanced for an eighth-grader—a point which I contest. I hope that an eighth-grader who reads the piece is not only advised but also challenged by it. At any level, I implore you, if you had trouble with any part of this essay, to refer to a dictionary or, if the trouble lay in the content of the paper, directly to me.

And thank you to the reviewers who pointed this out to me. Your constructive criticism has yielded some positive results, I think (and how often does that happen? ::laughs::), and you have my gratitude. Please continue to give these helpful pointers throughout Fictionpress! --Mistress Jakira