Campaign to get ‘lost words’ omitted from children’s dictionaries into schools

Lincs Wildlife Trust aims to get a copy of the book The Lost Words in every primary and special school across the county. Images supplied.
Lincs Wildlife Trust aims to get a copy of the book The Lost Words in every primary and special school across the county. Images supplied.

Fears that common countryside words will forever disappear from children’s vocabularies has inspired a campaign by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

Familiar words most of us grew up with - such as dandelion, acorn, otter and starling - have been removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

A pupil from St Margaret's School in Withern reads the book. Image supplied.

A pupil from St Margaret's School in Withern reads the book. Image supplied.

They are among many which have slowly been disappearing from children’s dictionaries since 2010, says the wildlife trust.

In response to this, an educational children’s book called The Lost Words has been written - and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is now crowdfunding to get a copy of it in every Lincolnshire primary school.

“Our aim is to provide a copy of The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris for the 415 primary, junior and special schools in Lincolnshire,” said trust spokesman Rachel Shaw.

“It is important these common words are retained and a link with language and countryside remains. This book is to inspire and imbue them with a sense of awe and bewilderment of the beautiful wildlife that surrounds us.”

The front cover of the book.

The front cover of the book.

An intro to the book reads: “Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed - fading away like water on stone. The words were those children used to name the natural world around them: acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, conker - gone! Fern, heather, kingfisher, otter, raven, willow, wren... all of them gone! The words were becoming lost: no longer vivid in children’s voices, no longer alive in their voices.”

This illustrated ‘book of spells’ aims to help children conjure back these lost words.

The trust has to raise £6,500 through its crowdfunder.co.uk page, which goes live for donations between June 11 and July 9. Once the funds are in place, the trust will deliver the books to schools in September.

If they exceed £6,500 and the funds stretch to £7,500, the trust says the money will allow them to supply a book for every Lincolnshire school - including secondary schools.

For more about the book and the campaign, visit www.lostwordsforlincolnshire.co.uk or see the facebook group ‘Lost Words For Lincolnshire’.