The other night, I finished one book but wasn't ready to start a new one just yet, so I decided to pick up a magazine from my pile. I went for a Reader's Digest that was from September of this past year.
|Reader's Digest Magazine|
Is that magazine still around? Am I an 80 year old woman you may ask? Well, no- I'm not. But this is actually my Dad's magazine subscription and he's nearly that age...
I remember in the 80s, when I was a kid, Mom and Dad subscribed to Reader's Digest. Sometimes, after Mom finished looking at it, she'd mention certain articles and I'd get curious, and then leaf through it myself. It had (bad) jokes, and some cartoons. It was full of random human interest stories. The magazine even had a little word definition quiz. I remember taking the quiz every now and then, and while I always got some of the words right, it wasn't the majority. They were hard. But I thought, "Maybe I'll learn these words by taking the quiz."
But I don't think you learn words just from seeing their definition once in a Reader's Digest "Word Power" quiz. Instead, you learn new words from overhearing them, or reading them and being curious enough to figure out what they mean. And then understanding what they mean well enough to use them in a sentence. That's when you've really mastered a word.
I was pleasantly surprised last night when I took the "Word Power" quiz. Out of 15 words, I knew almost all of them. And the ones I didn't know, I made a good guess on. I bet the last time I looked at one of those quizes was over 5 years ago, maybe even 10. It could be that the words they now choose have gotten easier, or maybe all these hours upon hours of reading in the bathtub has taught me words that wouldn't have otherwise been in my vocabulary. But if you read enough, you come across a lot of words.
Besides the "Word Power" quiz, this issue had all sorts of articles about the brain, which I'm always interested in. Reader's Digest is still worth reading. I just wonder how many people under the age of 45 even know about it...