Exploring a Dictionary
Exploring a Dictionary
Students will explore craft and structure through the use of a dictionary. Students will:
- review when and how to use a dictionary.
- use a dictionary to find definitions, syllabication, parts of speech, synonyms, and antonyms.
- distinguish literal from nonliteral meaning.
- identify affixes to support in determining the meaning of an unknown word.
- How do we think while reading in order to understand and respond?
- Why learn new words?
- What strategies and resources do I use to figure out unknown vocabulary?
- How do learners develop and refine their vocabulary?
- Literal: The true or given meaning of a word.
- Nonliteral: A figurative or metaphorical meaning of a word.
- Synonym: A word that has the same or almost the same meaning as another word.
- Antonym: A word that has the opposite meaning of another word.
1–2 hours/2–4 class periods
- Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary. DK Publishing, 2008.
- Scholastic Children’s Dictionary. Scholastic Reference, 2010.
- The American Heritage Children’s Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
- student copies of the Dictionary Scavenger Hunt worksheet (L-3-2-1_Dictionary Scavenger Hunt.doc). You may need to adjust the scavenger hunt based on the number of dictionaries available.
- a list of 15 to 20 grade-appropriate content-related words for students to look up in the Dictionary Race game. (You may wish to have varying lists based on students’ skill levels.)
- stopwatch for Dictionary Race
- chart paper
- quick-assessment chart on a sheet of chart paper (Write one student’s name or number in each box. The boxes need to be large enough to accommodate a sticky note. Post the chart so that students can stick their answer notes in their name box.)
- student copies of the Word Cards worksheet (L-3-2-1_Word Cards.doc)
The goal of this lesson is to provide students with an opportunity to explore and practice working with a dictionary. The above dictionaries were selected because they are easy to use. Alternative resources should include grade-level dictionaries. Suggested titles include the following:
- Macmillan Dictionary for Children. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2007.
- Thorndike-Barnhart Junior Dictionary by E. L. Thorndike and Clarence L. Barnhart. Scott Foresman, 1992.
- Teachers may substitute other books to provide a range of reading and level of text complexity.
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