Dictionary Skills

Dictionary Skills

Looking for ways to help your patrons improve their dictionary skills? Try some of these great ideas.

Librarians are often responsible for teaching patrons of all ages and skill levels how to use the dictionary. The ideas are presented to assist you in pepping up this research skill.

  1. Help young patrons learn the beginning, middle, and ending letters of the alphabet. Each patron should have a notebook. Have them write at the top of pages letters of the alphabet, allowing two pages per letter. Each day write a mystery word on a white board in number code (A=1, B=2, etc.). Students decode the word and write it in their spiral "dictionaries." The student may draw a picture to accompany the word or use it in a sentence.
  2. Write a sentence on a board that contains an unfamiliar word. For example: The women climbed to the top of the turret. Have the patrons look up the definition in the dictionary. You may have students keep a notebook of words and definitions through the year.
  3. Write a list of mystery words on a board. Have the students locate the words, then discuss the definitions.
  4. For this activity each patron will need a dictionary, a food label, a pencil, and a supply of index cards. On each card patrons write words for which they do not know the definition. Using the dictionary write the definition on the back of the cards. You can extend this lesson to specialized dictionaries and online dictionaries.

Building Dictionary Skills, Grades 2-3
Dictionary skills are the building blocks for using all reference materials. However, many students are not confident using dictionaries. Building Dictionary Skills familiarizes students with the information included in dictionaries, as well as tools to help them quickly locate words and find meanings. Practicing dictionary skills will help students effectively use dictionaries to verify spellings, look up new words, and learn new meanings. The enjoyable activities, puzzles, codes, and riddles in Building Dictionary Skills introduce the most essential reference skills supported by the NCTE and IRA standards. The reproducible worksheets provide progressive instruction of topics such as alphabetizing, guide words, and phonetic spellings. Students will learn to look up words, pronounce words, and understand dictionary entries. Dictionary skills are strengthened by specific activities on parts of speech, syllabic divisions, prefixes and suffixes, and multiple definitions.

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