Dictionary Games

Age Range: 7 - 11
By: Claire Owen

Each child has a dictionary (or partnered if resources are limited). The teacher randomly chooses a word and the children race to find it in their dictionaries. The first child to find it reads out the definition. They then get to chose the next word to search for!

This is great fun and creates real competition between the children to be the first to find the word.

An enjoyable way of getting children to familarise themsevles with dictionaries.

Ewan Hackett has contributed this variation to the above game...

Pick a random word from a dictionary and get the children to look it up. Get one child to read out definition. Do this another three times. Then ask them to create a sentence or short paragraph which uses all of the words either:

  • in the order they were looked up
  • or rearrange them and use them in alphabetical order.

Troy Landrebe has contributed another variation...

Another suggestion is to give the groups a definition and have them find the word in their dictionary. The winners are the group that put their hands up with the correct word and page number. I usually start with very basic words and as the year progresses increase the difficulity. This works great with spelling lists.

At the start of the year we also talk about sharing the dictionary so everyone gets a turn to look up the dictionary with others guiding the less able.

Another variation from Lori A Kuzyk...

I wrote out the words and had my daughter look them up. To make it more challenging I mispelled some words that she frequently did and with some assistance had her look up the correct spelling!

Here's another suggestion from Funso Fagbohun...

After the teacher calls out a word, and the fastest pupil finds it in the dictionary, the teacher can reward the child by asking him or her to look for another word to call out the next day. The pupil then sticks this in a special place in the classroom under the caption DICTIONARY WORD FOR TODAY (Teacher could provide assistance in writing clearly).

The next day another child gets a chance to do the same and by the end of the week the whole class could have a spelling test on all the words. This will help the children develop an interest in checking up words.

Carol Lumb has sent this idea...

This is a game my Dad and I used to play. In pairs, one has a dictionary and the other calls out a page number. They then call out left or right for the columns and then a number between one and ten. The person with the dictionary finds and reads out the word in that position and the other person needs to give a definition. You can do a point system, but we found it fun.


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good job



i love it