Grade: Elementary

#2900. Is This A Real Word?

Reading/Writing, level: Elementary
Posted Sun Jul 13 09:45:15 PDT 2003 by Sandy Scarborough (
Brennen Elementary, Columbia, SC
Materials Required: Dictionary for each student, construction or plain white paper, pencil , teacher-made word cards
Activity Time: 25 minutes
Concepts Taught: Dictionary Skills, Vocabulary Extension

This activity is designed to be used as a follow-up for students who have been introduced to using the dictionary. It is done in small cooperative groups of 4 students each. Prior to the activity, I prepare 24 word cards that use some real words from the student dictionary in may classroom. I try to choose unusual words that most have never heard before, and I make up several nonsense words.I give each group a large sheet of construction paper (folded into fourths) and four word cards. They are told to decide as a group whether they think each word is a real word or not. After making their decisions, each member of the group looks for the words in the dictionary. If it is found, a designated writer will copy the word and definition in one of the four sections. If it is not found, the group gets to make up their own meanings and illustrations for the nonsense words. They especially like doing this, and it is amazing how many funny definitions they can create! (For example, one group identified a "floddle" as a fish in a bottle!) They get to use the real-life application of dictionary skills, along with their imaginations. They are often surprised to find that words like "chortle", "souse", and "mum" are real words, but "fuzzle" and "pround" are not!