Lesson Plan: Guide Word Game


  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Students play a timed game to locate guide words in a dictionary.



  • define the term “guide words”.
  • locate guide words on specific dictionary pages.
  • work together in cooperative groups.


dictionary, guide words, game, timed

Materials Needed

dictionaries (one per pair of students), paper, pens or pencils, dry erase markers, dry erase board or laminate/sheet protector, teacher-made work sheets that list words beginning with different letters of the alphabet, answer key, timer or clock with second hand.

Lesson Plan

  • Ask students to describe the term guide words and give examples.
  • Organize students into pairs. Give each group one dictionary and a teacher-made work sheet that has a list of words beginning with different letters of the alphabet.
  • Tell students to look up each word on the list. Tell students they have X minutes to locate and write down the guide words that appear at the top of the page for each word and the page numbers the guide words fall on. (Vary time limit according to students’ ages and abilities.)

***One variation of this game that my students love is as follows: Form students into groups. Give each group one dry erase board, sheet protector or laminated sheet of paper and a dry earase marker. Turn the board/sheet landscape. Draw four lines equally spaced from top to bottom of the board/sheet. Write the following column headers: word, guide word1, guide word2, page number. Or create a printed sheet especially for this activity. To play, the teacher writes one word on the board. Set a timer. Tell students they have x-amount of time (seconds or minutes depending on skill level) to look up each word and write down the guide words and page number. Each group has to write their answer on the dry erase.  Assign everyone in the group a job. Possible jobs are recorder/reporter, researchers, and announcer. The recorder/reporter writes down the information. The researchers look for the information as a group. The announcer yells out “got it!” or something like that.  Use the assessment below or make this game a competition between teams. Another assessment option is to have teams compete against their own performance. Write down how much time it took the group to find the correct information. Have them try to beat their own time. Continue playing the game until groups find all of the words. I use the job titles as a method of reinforcing the “er” suffix; this suffix means “the one who”. So, researcher means, the one who researches; recorder means the one who records, etc.


At the end of the time limit, give students the answers from the answer key and have them check their own work. Evaluate students’ responses and abilities to work together in cooperative groups.

via Education World ® Lesson Planning: Guide Word Game.


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