Dictionary Skills? What?
You might think that students working in dictionaries is an obsolete idea. With the advancement of technology, students can find information, check spelling, grammar, sentence structure, even get help writing complete papers. But learning how to use a dictionary will help students later on when they are researching or trying to find information. Once they discover how a dictionary is laid out, they will be able to gather information from other resources.
Our youngest students should learn that
*words in a dictionary are organized alphabetically.
*Each word is called an entry.
*You can find correct spelling, pronunciation, the parts of speech, and definition.
*Guide words on the top of dictionary pages give clues about what words are included on each page.
This ultra mini unit introduces kids to the wonderful word world of dictionaries. Once hooked, kids will love being Dictionary Detectives!
So after organizing our thinking about dictionaries, I let the kids pick a word from the given list. In pairs they set off to be Dictionary Detectives. They had to look up the word, write the definition, and then write a sentence on the recording page. Then they got to share their detective work by making a little paint chip pumpkin! They turned out great!!! A wonderful hand to heart action!!!
But what happened next is what made me say "What??" I keep our little basket of dictionaries back by our classroom library. During DEAR time kids can pick any book from our library to read. For the past week, more kids pick a dictionary to read! I know, I know...they aren't able to practice fluency, story structure, fiction, nonfiction characteristics, etc. But wow!! They are having a blast looking up words!!! I see them using their detective skills along with the alphabet layout, and the guide words! When they finally spy the word they are looking for...TAH DAH!!! You can hear the joy in their voices, little screams, and wiggles! They can't wait to share!!! I love it so much! I hope their excitement for discovering wonderful words never falters!!
If you need a quick mini unit to help you get started on this detective journey,
I hope your kids love being Dictionary Detectives as much as mine have!
Let me know how it goes!
Till then, have a wonder-filled week!!
Love to all!