Dictionary Game - an Enjoyable Challenge

About: One who knows mightily the grace of God given to us through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Wife of Ken, mom to three children that keep me on my toes and on my knees at the same time. Retired from homes...

 I came up with this idea while trying to teach my children how to use the dictionary to look up words. (It turned out to be so much fun- and challenging, they play it now, well into their teens.) Of course, nowadays not many people use dictionaries, unless they are online versions. Online dictionaries do not give the user a sense of place and location of words. Not being able to alphabetize to the third , fourth and fifth letter leaves a person with a handicap as well as a gap in their learning. I believe the Dictionary Game helps to prevent and/or rectify the problem of
Alphabetiziation Ignorance(A-I).

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Step 1: Materials

• One or more players
• Hard copy of a dictionary – (level depends on the age of the players. Chose a dictionary that will be challenging but not overwhelming. )
• Paper and pencil for all participants.
• List of words . (words could be spelling/vocab list, or words you decide on arbitrarily. Make sure the words are not in alphabetical order. (You may want to alphabetize them for younger children.)

Step 2: Beginning

 Open dictionary to its very first word and very last word – have everyone note the page numbers.

. Each player makes a score card with four columns and the following headings:

Step 3: Round One

Have everyone write the first word in WORD column. Have each player write a guess for the dictionary page on which the word will be found.  This is often some of the funniest times in the game when people are trying to make up their minds. 

My first word is  " j i n x  ".      My guess is that it will be found on page 594.

Step 4: Round One Con't

The word is looked up. The definition is read and the page number stated. The page number is listed under ACTUAL.

Points will be the difference between the actual and the guess page numbers.

Ex: . The actual page was 658. I subtract my guess from the actual page number and the difference is written under points. (You don’t want to have the most points.) If the actual is less than the guess, subtract the actual from the guess.

My points for that round    44.

Step 5: Subsequent Rounds

Continue with the next word until all words on the list are complete

(Usually, in the first few rounds everyone will be racking up quite a few points, but once one begins to get a sense of the scope and depth of the dictionary, and skills get more refined, the points will begin to decrease for all.)

Ex. After looking up the eight words on the list, my final total was:     173 points.

Remember the person with the lowest score wins, because they had a better sense of where the words were located.

Step 6: Remember

This game can be modified in a number of ways.

Additional columns can be added in which players make a guess at the part of speech of the word before it is looked up.  Points can be subtracted if someone has written down the correct part of speech or if they knew the definition of the word before it was read.

For more of a challenge, add additional penalty points for guesses that exceed the actual. (Extra built in math practice. ) Did you guess I am a homeschooling mom?

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    11 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 4

    658 - 594 = 64. Did I miss something about the gameplay, or was that just a goof?


    7 years ago on Step 4

    It should be 64 dude lol


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    thanks. You have a splendorous day also. In Maryland we are having a gorgeous beginning to spring!

    I do see a flaw in the scoring of the game lets say the word is jinx. (like in your example) If you knew it was on page 658 and you had a score of 42 the you could say the number 616 then your score would be 0. If I would do this game I would just keep adding to the score even if it is below the actual page.

    Other then that I think this is a good game and I wished my teaches knew about this and had us play it when I was a kid.

    2 replies

    Thanks for commenting. The game does encourage one to keep adding to the score. I apologize if I did not make it clear enough. Enoy!

    thanks for the comment and suggestion. Feel free to tweak it to make it work for you. Sorry it has taken so long to respond.