Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Words to Guide You

Tabitha Kosmas
Santa Rosa District Schools


Using guide words, students practice locating specified words in a dictionary.


The student uses parts of a book to locate information, including chapter titles, guide words, and indices.


-Dictionary for each student
-Transparency of Guide Word Activity (See Associated File)
-Guide Words worksheet (See Associated File)
-Overhead transparencies
-Overhead projector


1. Prepare overhead transparency of a dictionary page.
2. Prepare overhead transprency of the Guide Word Activity. (See Associated File)
3. Prepare a list of 10-15 words for students to alphabetize (spelling words or unit words work great).
4. Prepare list of 10-15 words for students to locate in dictionary. (You can use the same list from #3.)
5. Make student copies of the Guide Words worksheet. (See Associated File)


NOTE: This lesson only addresses the guide word portion of the referenced benchmark.

1. Begin by reviewing how to alphabetize a list of words. Select any 10-15 words and have the students alphabetize them. (Words that correspond to your current unit of study or your spelling list would work great.) Once the students have alphabetized the words individually, go over them as a class.

2. Place a transparency of a dictionary page on the overhead.

3. Explain each part of the page to the students (i.e., guide words, entry words, syllable breaks, definitions).

4. Highlight the advantages of using guide words and explain how to utilize guide words to locate a word.

5. Place the Guide Word Activity transparency on the overhead. (See Associated File)

6. The following activity can be completed as a class or individually: Have the students sort the words from the word bank into the column with the correct set of guide words. If done individually, review the answers when everyone is finished.

7. Have students locate words in the dictionary by using the guide words. Call out the same words used in #1. Have the student who finds the word first tell the page number and the set of guide words on the page where they found the word. (Walk around the room making sure the students are using their guide words instead of flipping pages.)

8. Review how to use guide words as well as the advantages of using guide words.

9. Pass out the Guide Words worksheet for students to complete individually. (See Associated File)


Assess student understanding of guide words through their answers on the Guide Words worksheet. (See Associated File) The worksheet is divided into 2 sections. One section requires students to place the words under the correct set of guide words. The other section requires the students to use guide words to look up a word in the dictionary.


For special education classes, complete any activities in steps 1-7 together as a class.

Attached Files

This file contains the Guide Word Activity and Guide Words worksheet.     File Extension: pdf

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