Dictionary Skills Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Teach students methods to determine the meaning of unknown words, including using syntax and dictionaries, with this lesson plan. Two video lessons outline instruction as students apply understanding with active learning.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the history and use of dictionaries
  • demonstrate understanding of using syntax to determine understanding
  • use a dictionary to locate and define words


1 hour


  • Dictionaries
  • Prepared sentences
  • Sentence strips (blank, but sequentially numbered in the top left-hand corner)
  • Tape

Key Vocabulary

  • Dictionary
  • Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
  • Syntax
  • Decode
  • Syntax clues
  • Word placement

Curriculum Standards


Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words or phrases based on grade 8 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.


Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word's position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.


Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.


Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).

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