Can You Spell Dictionary?

Contributor: Jennifer Blanchard. Lesson ID: 13913

Have you ever tried to write a word you didn't know how to spell? What can you do? Do you just guess? Do you give up and think of another word? Hopefully not! This lesson will help you!


Phonics, Writing

English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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rubber band joke

Haha... There are actually much longer words in the dictionary than rubber band, like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

It's a good thing we have dictionaries to help us spell words like that!

It is important to know how to spell words correctly so others can read and understand your writing.

Learn how to use a dictionary and other reference materials to help you look up how to spell words.

  • What is a dictionary?

A dictionary:

  • → is a resource (can be a book or online)
  • → has a lot of words in a language
  • → tells you what those words mean
  • → helps you spell those words
  • → tells you how to pronounce (or say!) those words
  • → gives you different versions of those words
  • → tells you more information about those words

This lesson will cover how a dictionary helps you spell words when writing. You can also use a dictionary to fix the spelling if you spelled a word wrong in your writing.

  • How do you use a dictionary that is a book?

First, it is important to know that the words in a dictionary are in alphabetical order. That means words that start with the letter A are first. Then, words that start with B are next, and so on, all the way to Z.


All the words in a dictionary are in alphabetical order based on their first letters, but many words start with each letter.

So, you have to look at the second letters and put those in alphabetical order too.

Look at aardvark and ape as an example. Both start with an A, so they will be at the beginning of the dictionary. To see which comes first, look at the second letter. The a in an aardvark comes before the p in ape, so aardvark will come before ape.

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Now, you must guess how to spell the first few letters of the word you want to look up. Turn to the pages with the words that start with those letters in the dictionary.

You will be able to find the word spelled correctly as well as the definition and other information about the word.

  • How do you use a dictionary online?

There are several online dictionaries you can use like this Student Dictionary for Kids.

Guess how to spell the word and type it into the search bar.

search bar

The dictionary will give you options. Select the word you wanted to see its proper spelling as well as the definition and other information.

  • What other reference materials besides a dictionary could help with spelling?

If the word you are trying to spell is written in a book nearby, you can look inside it to see how it is spelled. Authors always spell the words correctly!

You could also look inside a thesaurus, which is set up exactly like a dictionary. However, instead of definitions, a thesaurus lists other words that mean the same thing as the word you are looking up.

For example, if you look up the word new in a thesaurus, you will see similar words like novel, original, or fresh.


  • Is this making sense so far?

Great! Move on to the Got It? section to practice it together!

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