Using a Dictionary to Clarify the Meaning of Unknown Words
This lesson will help students explore using a dictionary to figure out tricky words with suffixes. Use as a stand-alone activity or a support for the Understanding Academic Vocabulary in a Nonfiction Text lesson.
Students will be able to define academic vocabulary in a grade level text.
Students will be able to define academic vocabulary with suffixes using a dictionary and graphic organizer for support.
Bring out an age-appropriate dictionary with illustrations and show the cover to the students.
Ask the students to raise their hands if they have ever used or seen a dictionary before.
Explain that a dictionary is a tool that readers can use to figure out the meaning of words. Tell the students that dictionaries come in many different languages and there are also online dictionaries that can help us learn new words.
Find a word that most students would know the meaning of, such as apple, cat, dog, sun, or child. Model looking through the pages to find the word and show students the illustration. Explain that dictionaries with illustrations are important because they help our brains connect the word with the picture.
Ask another student to think of a word they would like to find in the dictionary. Call them to the front of the classroom and guide them as they look for the word, using the guide words and illustrations to help them. Once the student finds the word, read the word and definition aloud, showing the rest of the class the illustration.
Reinforce that a definition is an explanation of what a word means.