teaching tips blog


Jan 4, 2013

A Primer on Using the Dictionary by BETTY STATNICK

Krisa Winn

   "One of the most important skills students can learn in school is the ability to use language in an effective way...the single most important tool in the educational process of acquiring language skills is a dictionary that meets the needs of the student." (from the foreword to "Webster's New World Children's Dictionary")

   One homeschooling mom related to me what the college registrar stated when her son was enrolling for classes, "We find that all students, not just the ones who have some learning struggles, are very deficient in study skills." Since using the dictionary is one of those study
skills which must be learned, this newsletter will give some guidance for teaching children how to use the dictionary.

   There are three types of skills involved in using the dictionary: locational skills, pronunciation skills, and meaning skills. This newsletter will give some helpful tips for you in each of those areas.

   However, I recommend that the first dictionary assignment you give your child be "Look through this book." (You may be amazed at some of the "extras" between the covers of various student dictionaries. See information in resources section.)

   After several sessions of his exploring the dictionary, let him tell you what he discovered, what he liked, or anything that was puzzling to him. After doing that you can launch into direct and progressive teaching of locational skills, pronunciation skills, and meaning skills.  Click here to read Betty's tips for teaching these skills.   

In what ways have you used the dictionary to advance your child's study skills?