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Dictionary Race (grades 3-6)


Author: Pat Driscoll, California


Subject: Language Arts


Objective: Develop reference skills and increase vocabulary.


Materials and Preparation: Dictionaries, all EXACTLY THE SAME, for each student. List of words you want to use.


Student Grouping: 2 teams


The Play:

  1. Each student gets a dictionary.

  2. On a white board write down one of the words from your list of entries.

  3. Flip the board over and say, "First team to tell me the page number this word is on gets one point."

    • Caveat: After a few points students pick up on the strategy of guessing by yelling out consecutive page numbers that are in the general vicinity of the answer. Stop this by allowing each team only two guesses. Or better yet, give each student a mini-whiteboard and have them write down the page number.


Comments or Variations:

For ESL or less advanced classes, use only the guide words at the top of the page. Much easier to find and a useful skill to know as well.


By the way, I recommend Longman's Dictionary of American English. Very nicely set up for learning.

This is a game that kids really like - once they get past their initial resistance to anything to do with the dictionary. So this is a game to use after you have built up a little bit of trust with the kids.



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