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Stone Hill Elementary School Library: Guide Words

Essential Question

How can I use guide words to easily find the information I need in a reference book?

Lesson 1 - Rags to Riches

  • Discussion: Introduce the concept of guide words and go over examples. (E.g., write sample words on chart paper or whiteboard and ask kids to think of words that could go on the page.)
  • Activity: Students take turns seeing who can get the most "money" with their guide word skills playing Rags to Riches. The first player gets to go again at the end.

  • Assessment: Track participation and scores. Not everyone has to take a turn on the Quia if they're not comfortable, but the highest score can choose from the prize box.

Lesson 3 - H Words

  • Review: Go over a few examples from last week to remind the kids how guide words work.
  • Activity 1: Hand out copies of the Hair - Hand dictionary page from Students must decide if the 12 words listed would appear between those two guide words. Give them six minutes to work, then give them the answers.
  • Activity 2: Give each student an H word from the file below. It includes the 12 worksheet words as well as lots of others. Use chart paper to mark a "dictionary page" at the front of the room with the guide words Hair and Hand. Ask the kids to look at their word and figure out whether it goes on the page. If it does, they should stand between the signs. If their word would come before the page they should stand before Hand, and if it would come after, stand after Hair. 

  • Assessment:

check = stands on correct "page"

minus = does not stand in the correct place, even with prompting‚Äč

  • Extension: If you're feeling ambitious and/or are in a classroom and have no checkout for the day, have the kids get themselves into alphabetical order. You can give them new words to work with and do a couple of rounds.


Lesson 2 - Three Pages

  • Review: Go over a few examples to remind the kids how guide words work.
  • Activity 1: Hand out copies of the dictionary sort worksheet below. Students must assign the 18 words to the correct pages.
  • Activity 2: Students tape their word onto the correct "dictionary page" (chart paper taped to the wall). The Wall Word document below includes the 18 from the worksheet above as well as extras (including words that will need to be taped to the space BETWEEN the pages ... tricky!)

  • Assessment:

plus = correctly places word without any hesitation
(i.e., makes a beeline for right page)

check = correctly places word with little to no prompting, but some hesitation

minus = does not correctly place word, even with prompting

Lesson 4 - Dictionary Races

  • Preview: Discuss the rules: you'll give the kids a word to find in the dictionary. When they find it, they raise their hand. You'll come check to make sure they're pointing at the correct word and give them a point. More than one kid can get a point, but only before you call out "next word!"
  • Activity: Use a projector to show kids the words from your list below so they aren't worrying about spelling. Keep an eye out for kids getting frustrated; give hints to the struggling ones to try and keep them from giving up. 

  • Assessment: The first few kids to find each word get a point; the student(s) with the most points at the end may choose from the prize box. I had some kids who found every word quickly; once they hit 10 points, I sent them to pick a prize and kept going with the rest of the class.

Common Core Standards Addressed

RI.2.5 - Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently; L.2.2.E Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings; L.2.4.EUse glossaries and beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases.