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October is the month of Noah Webster’s Birthday. I am sure you probably recognize his name as the one who wrote the dictionary, right? In honor of Webster this month, I have made a set of Dictionary Skills activities for you to use in teaching your kids or students to use the dictionary.
I also have a list of some awesome dictionaries for kids. Read to the end for that list!
Noah Webster is an impressive man. In preparing to write his dictionary he learned 26 languages so he would know the origins of all of the words included. He also helped to standardize the spelling of the American language. His dictionary included more than 70,000 words. Although he was not the first person to write a dictionary, his was the most complete.
Why are dictionary skills important? Obviously it is important to be able to look up words that you do not know. There are so many things in a dictionary that are helpful. Kids can learn pronunciations of words as well as definitions. There are word origins, synonyms, words used in a sentence, and parts of speech. All of these things can be helpful to understand how to use. Kids also need to learn to alphabetize words, and can do that with a dictionary.
I created a printable Dictionary Skills set with four different worksheet pages.
- The first page has a word log for new words they come across in their reading. It has a place to define the word, and write it in a sentence. It also encourages them to use the word in everyday language.
- The second page is an alphabetizing page. It has lists of words to alphabetize. Kids need this skill to use the dictionary.
- The third page is a guide to understanding the different parts of a definition.
- The fourth page is a dictionary scavenger hunt page. It guide kids through the different parts to help them learn how to use and navigate the dictionary.
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Dictionary for Kids
If you are teaching your kids dictionary skills, you probably also want a dictionary for your kids! Here are some really good ones!
Dictionary of Difficult Words by Jane Solomon- this is a fun one, and not your traditional dictionary. This one focuses on harder words that kids may not know. Plus, it’s just a beautiful book to have on your shelf!
Merriam-Webster’s Elementary Dictionary– a good basic dictionary for kids! I love that it’s geared towards a certain age (8-12). It is very comprehensive with 36,000 words, pictures, quotes and more.
My First Dictionary is a great starter one for young kids. This one is for kids ages 6-9. It has 1000 words and is fully illustrated.
Once Upon a Word: A Word-Origin Dictionary for Kids by Jess Zafarris
DK Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary – This one has more than 35,000 words and is color coded by the letter of the alphabet. It has over 3000 illustrations.