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Dictionary Day Activities

October 16, the birthday of Noah Webster, is celebrated as Dictionary Day in the United States. Noah Webster, who lived in West Hartford, CT, was an American lexicographer, textbook pioneer, and English-language spelling reformer, created the first dictionary in 1840. There are plenty ways to celebrate Dictionary Day in the classroom, and EducationWorld has curated a list of six lessons and activities teachers can use to commemorate Noah Webster from EducationWorld and other resources:

  • Frindle, a book about a young boy named Nick who makes up his own words, such as "Frindle." Teachers can have students read the book and then set up an activity where the class can make up their own words and definitions. 


  • Create a Word: This activity can correspond with reading "Frindle" by Andrew Clements. Provided by EducationWorld, students can work in small groups to brainstorm new words for their class dictionary. All students need is a pen or pencil, and some paper, then their minds can do all the work. 


  • Noah Webster and His Dictionary: With this activity, high school students can use library or online resources to create a timeline about Noah Webster's life. Students will learn the meaning of lexicographer and further understand who Noah Webster was and what he did for the literary world.


  • VOCAB-u-lous: In this activity provided by EducationWorld, middle and high school students can participate in this activity and build a strong vocabulary. Teachers will provide students with activity sheets where students can figure out which word fits each sentence. Students can use the word bank provided as well as their dictionaries.  


  • Multiple Meanings Game: In this activity, the class is required to "hunt for the classmate whose definition card leads to the same word as yours." Each student will have a card with a word, find the definition in the dictionary, and then find the classmate with the right card with the definition. 


Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor