One thing all writers love is words. So I created a printable spelling dictionary so my children would have a special place to keep them.
So… do you consider yourself a natural speller? How about your kids? It’s true that the ability to spell comes easily to some kids and not so easily to others. I remember a first grade student who was a natural speller. At her parent teacher conference I asked which of her parents she inherited that gift from.
The answer was, “Both of us.”
Then her dad continued. “She’ll also inherit size 12 prom shoes.”
I guess that’s what happens when both of your parents are six feet tall!
Whether or not your child is a natural speller, these free printable spelling dictionaries are a fabulous resource.
How to use the spelling dictionaries
- If you are the parent of a preschooler or kindergartner, consider printing a book without the word lists. This way your child can be a word collector – spelling words as he hears them and writing words he already knows (his name, Mom, Dad, etc.).
Just yesterday my Four (almost five) was excitedly writing his own invented spellings. He spelled turtle “TRDL.” I thought that was fabulous! (Not so sure about invented spelling? Read my do’s and don’ts for invented spelling.)
- If you choose to print a dictionary with word lists, encourage your child to use it as a reference as he seeks the spellings of words commonly used in writing.
- Have your child use the lines as a recording space to write words he wants to use in his writing. “How do you spell ‘happy’?” (Encourage him to write the word on the “H” page as you give him the spelling, so he doesn’t need to ask again.)
- Let your child find his own use for the dictionary. While I was working with my Four, my daughter was busy copying words from the word lists. This was not my intent when I created the dictionary, but who am I to get in the way of child-led spelling practice? When she wondered what to do next, I suggested she get out her new picture dictionary and find words she wanted to record. She was enthusiastic and stayed busy for a while.
How not to use the dictionaries
- Please don’t encourage your child to look up every word he wants to write. This will really slow down the creative process and make him dependent on spelling every word correctly before he’s ready to do that.
- Please encourage your child to “invent” spellings according to her ability. For example, I was thrilled when my Four spelled turtle “TRDL.” Look at how many sounds he puzzled out! He was learning much more about sounds by figuring out his invented spelling than by writing letters by rote as I dictated them, which would merely be handwriting practice.
Of course, if your child is truly ready to learn and remember a spelling, by all means supply the correct one.
Choose one of six versions!
When I first created these dictionaries, my oldest son was showing an increased interest in words. He asked about words in print and wanted to write notes to his sister. I knew it was time to give him a spelling dictionary, too. However, since he was reading very little, I did not want to give him a dictionary with word lists already included. Instead, I wanted him to puzzle out spellings on his own — while having a special place to house words that he uses a lot.
That’s why the first two versions have just the letters and a picture clue on each page. I included pictures for the long and short vowel sounds as well as pictures for the hard and soft sounds of C and G.
Version 1 has pictures and handwriting lines.
Version 2 has pictures and wide lines.
Version 3 has word lists, pictures and narrower handwriting lines.
Version 4 has word lists, pictures and wide lines.
Version 5 has word lists, pictures, and narrow lines.
Version 6 has word lists and narrow lines.
Whether you are a classroom teacher, homeschooling parent, or a parent (like me) who seeks to supplement your child’s school education, I hope you will find these dictionaries useful!
How to download, print, and assemble
Download the file and print with Adobe Reader. Make sure you print front to back. Set it to “flip on the short side,” or the backs will be upside down!
When done printing, fold the dictionary. Then open it back up and staple on the fold with a long-armed stapler
I’m an educator and love your dictionaries for my younger students! However, I just came to print one off for my daughter and for the life of me, I can’t find the area to actually download the dictionaries!!! What am I doing wrong? I thought there was a link under each version but I’m not seeing anything now…
Heather Groth, Customer Support
Hello Jaime! We’re so glad the dictionaries work well for your students, and now your daughter! If you scroll down to the bottom of the post (but before the comments section), you’ll see a box outlined in green that says, “Get your free spelling dictionary (six versions)!” Then just click on the yellow button that says, “Click to Download,” and the pdf containing all six versions will pop up right away!
Thank you so much for posting this great resource. I had been buying spelling dictionaries for my class out of my own pocket for years. This wasn’t too much of problem as I usually had very small class sizes. This year, I will have 22 students and just can’t afford it, but couldn’t see not having them as they are such a great help for students (and they love using them!). This is the perfect solution. I just tried printing using your very clear instructions and it worked perfectly (and I learned about “flip on the short side” – who knew!). Thanks, again!
Yay! I ‘m so glad you can use this, Laila! :))
Thank you, my son asked me to create a dictionary. He is so excited with yours and already started to write other words in it.
Thank you so much for this FREE resource! I have a very similar one in my teacher files in our storage unit. I didn’t want to have to try to find it to use in my homeschool classroom, and I am grateful that you shared this one.
Thanks for sharing!
This is perfect for my Grade 1/2 class! Thank you!
Just printed one out for my homeschooled first grader, this is going to be a great resource for her! She even got to decorate the cover with glitter to make it unique just for her!
I’m glad this was helpful, Grace!
Thank you so much for sharing!
Thank you so much! Your resources are great
My Daughter is a great reader yet struggling so much with Spelling . thank you for making this resource, and making it free, I am printing today!!
You’re very welcome, Janice!
Thanks for this! 😉
You’re very welcome, Niki!
I don’t have a long stapler at work. Do you have any ideas on how to assemble this without a long stapler?
You could just staple 3 staples along the left side. It wouldn’t work as well, though, and might cut off some text.
Love this! I am trying to print for my new class but am having trouble. There is not option on any of the printers I’ve tried to print both sides or flip the short edge. At home I’m using a Mac and at school PC. Any tips? Thank you so much!
If you can email me a screenshot of what you’re seeing when it’s time to print, I might be able to make a suggestion — anna(at)themeasuredmom(dot)com
Thank you! This is just what I was looking for! I’m hoping this will be a great resource for my grade 4s to teach them not only spelling but also how to use a dictionary. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing. I will soon be teaching a creative writing class to 3rd to 6th graders. (It’s a Co-Op homeschool group.) This will help so much with helping the students become independent writers.
You’re welcome, Angela!
Thanks for your generous and creative resources, this is very helpful!
You’re very welcome, Paige!
I LOVE the differentiated spelling dictionaries. Thanks so much for sharing!
HI! I Love this..I’m a resource teacher and this is exactly what I need for a few students. I’m having trouble with printing, however. I am in Adobe but the print options looks different. No place to choose “Print on Both Sides” or “Flip on Short Side”. Maybe it’s a newer version of Adobe or because I’m printing from a Mac?? I’ve tried looking for comparable print options but don’t see anything. Have printed twice but it flips back page upside down : (
Any thoughts or other programs I can print from? Thank you!
Hi Lisa! I’ll send you an email with a screenshot.
Thank you so much! It’s wonderful to have all of these different versions, to aid with differentiation while having a consistent appearance across the class. These are wonderful.
You’re very welcome, Karen! I’m glad you like them.
Hi, I was just wondering if I am missing where the link is for the rest of the dictionary (if there is one) for the letters after N. Thanks!
HI Chris – I believe that all the letters are in there. But they’re mixed up because it’s set up to print like a book. Let me know if you don’t see all the letters after a second look!
Christine Marie Madrigal
I am having the same trouble. It only shows A-N in version 3. Can you please link the entire file for me?
Christine Marie Madrigal
I see it now. Thank you!
This is awesome. Thank you so much for this.
You’re very welcome!
Am I dreaming or did the dictionaries have number/days of the week pages before?
You must be thinking of a different resource – these haven’t changed. 🙂
Thanks so much! This is exactly what I was looking for for my 1st grader!
Yay – I’m so glad you can use this, Kate!
I have tried to print the dictionaries you have on this site and no matter what I do they are not printing properly. Help please
I’m sorry – I don’t know how to help you unless I have more information. What about the tutorial is confusing to you?
Me too. My printer doesn’t have an end to end choice. Would it be another name?
It might say “front to back” or “2-sided.” The key is to make sure they are printing so that you flip on the short side. This setting will look different depending on your printer, but if you open and print with Adobe Reader you should find that option.
Thank you for sharing, you saved me some valuable time. Kind regards
You’re very welcome, Emma!
hi.may GOD give you health and wealth,your work is to much alluring
I hope you don’t mind I used one of your dictionaries to explain how I teach with a dictionary in my classroom. I did give you credit at the end of my post as well as provide a link back to your blog.
You did a great job, Sue – thank you for sharing my spelling dictionaries!
Thank you Anna… this continues to be an excellent resource in my classroom. 🙂
I’m so glad to hear that, Ali!
Do you have any helpful hints for printing from a Mac? Having trouble getting everything to print properly.
I’m sorry that I don’t; I’ve never used one. Are you opening and printing from Adobe Reader?
I have Adobe on both my school (PC) and home (MAC) computers. I have an option to print back to back, but I don’t have an option for “flip on the short edge”. And thank you, by the way, for creating this little dictionary. It will be extremely helpful for my 3rd graders to have in their writing folders throughout the year.
I just sent you an email.
I didn’t receive your email. Please try firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Actually I did send it to the panthervalley address. Did you check your spam folder?
I have downloaded many of your free resources and can only thank you for sharing so much that has clearly taken you so long to prepare. The children in my class benefit immensly from your generosity. Thank you so much.
Thank you so much for your kind comment, Louise! I’m so thankful you and your students are enjoying my materials!
Thanks so much for making the dictionaries a free resource! I love anything free for teachers! I hope my first graders will get good use out of their dictionaries!
I’m thrilled that you can use them, Caitlin! Thanks so much for your comment. 🙂
I have tried several times to print this but its not working. Plus the pages don’t match on your site S and T are 19 and 20 when I printed them they were S 19 and H 8. Could you help me Thank you so much!
Hi Sue! Can you explain the problem that you’re having? When you say you try to print but “it’s not working”?
I printed the book. My first page is the cover…next page is a/z…next is y/b.
If I follow the directions and fold the book, it reads: z, b, x, d.
How can I arrange the pages so they read alphabetically?
It should work perfectly if you follow the picture tutorial, Lauren. Was there something that was unclear?
Love it can’t wait to show it to my daughters…
just a comment about Dict 1 the letter P has Z underneath and the letter B has the # 26 page prob typo i was just wondering sorry
Good Job Love it.
Thank you, Henry! Can you explain more what you mean about the error with letter P/Z? I couldn’t find that one. Is that in Dictionary 1?
in Dict1 in page 16 there is a little pig and the Pp and under the letters on the lines there is a Z
Thank you again for catching the errors in my spelling dictionary, Henry. That letter Z was a strange one because it was only showing up when the file was converted to a pdf. It’s fixed now. Please let me know if you see any other errors 🙂
Thank you for the resource.
Both spelling books are very nice.
A few constructive comments:
In the My First Spelling Book, the lines are very large and not divided.
For the very young age that is learning to place side of hand on paper and only move fingers, ½ inch or about 12 mm is a good line height. Adding a colored red dotted dash and a blue top line and green bottom line, may make the writing of letters more understandable and more inviting. This will hopefully help in making the short letters and tall letters easier to make. Then spacing these colored lines a ¼ inch apart will help the child understand letters with tails.
Kids of ALL ages love color. In the example words, by making the vowels or vowel teams a color may help a child remember the most difficult part of English spelling, which grapheme to match up with a vowel sound (phoneme) whether this is a diphthong vowel sound or a monophthong vowel sound.
Also adding a few simple examples in the CVC pattern would by nice in the My First Spelling Book.
Many other ways could be used to pop the difficult to spell parts of English words. But this may clutter your cute little books.
Again, I love the little books.
Thanks for your suggestions! This is by far the most time consuming of all my printables, taking tens of hours to make and put together… so I am not looking at updating it in the near future. But I will certainly keep your suggestions in mind!
Thank you so much for making these dictionaries! They are a great resource! Is it possible for me to switch the the clipart around so that I may use these dictionaries to help my nephew and niece study Spanish? Through a program like Photoshop or MS Word?
Thank you for your quick reply. Haha.. I probably shouldn’t have skimmed the Terms so quickly. Thank you anyways. 🙂
Thanks for this great resource! A regular dictionary, even a child’s dictionary, is too much for my son right now, so maybe this will give him a resource that is right at his level.
You’re very welcome, Lindsey! I hope your son enjoys the dictionary. 🙂
Thank you ~ This is exactly what our 7 year old granddaughter needed to take her writing and reading to the next level.
I’m so glad you can use the spelling dictionary, Peggy! Thanks so much for your comment.
Thank you so much for creating and sharing this resource! The dictionaries looks great and I’m sure they will be extremely useful in my classroom! Thanks for including three options as well! 🙂
You’re very welcome, Tony – enjoy!
Thank you. This will be so helpful.
You’re welcome, Heather!
I have been looking for a spelling dictionary like this for a long time. It is perfect for primary grade children! Thank you
I’m so glad you can use it, Hilary!
You are AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing this fabulous resource that clearly took you a great amount of time and effort to create. Many thanks! 🙂
Thanks so much, Ashley – your comment made my day. 🙂 I love making this sort of thing, and the time is worth it when lots of people can benefit. So glad you can use it!
Thank you!! You saved me hours of creating my own dictionary. I teach 3rd grade and LOVE this!!
I’m so glad, Kristina! Have you printed and assembled it yet? A reader was having trouble even with the tutorial, so I hope it’s easy to put together!
Thanks, these are exactly what I wanted for my 1st/2nd special ed. students.
I’m glad you can use them, Tammy!
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Thank you so much. This will be very helpful for my soon to be 4-year-old.
So glad you can use it, Rae!
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Can you please tell me which picture dictionary you have in the last photo? Is it Scholastic? Thank you.
Hello, Jenny! It’s actually the DK Children’s Illustrated dictionary. Here is my affiliate link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0756651964?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=0756651964&linkCode=xm2&tag=themeamom0e-20
We gave it to my daughter as part of her 6th birthday (she’s big into words!). She’s learned so much from it.
Thank you for letting me know. It looks perfect for my kids.
OK, I’m not sure how to print this. I have an old printer and so I have to do everything manually meaning I print a page and then have to take it out and put it back in to print double sided. So is the title page part of the book or do I start printing double sided with the letter page? Are page 3/4 back and to back and 5/6 back to back. Like that? I am really confused! Sorry!
Thanks, Anna! I got it now. Can’t wait to use this. Your site has been so helpful to me and you are quick to answer questions. I appreciate that.
I’m so glad it worked for you, Shonda!
Wow! Thanks for sharing this resource. I have been looking for something like this for awhile. I have a fourth grader, so some of the words are a little easy, but he has plenty of space to write in his own words.
Yes, I used words from a list of “most commonly used words” in children’s writing. So I debated whether to keep some of those simple ones in there but in the end used them all. I’m glad you can use it, Tabitha!
Thank you so much for this wonderful resource! I’m sure my children will benefit from your spelling dictionaries. THANK YOU!
You’re very welcome, Aimee! Have fun with them!
Elizabeth | Ready. Set. Simplify.
Thank you so much! This is exactly what I was looking for! 🙂
So glad you can use it! Thanks so much for checking it out, Elizabeth!
What a fun idea! I will be printing one of each level for my two children. Thank you so much for taking the time to share these 🙂
I’m glad you can use it! Thanks so much for stopping by! I did send you a message via the contact form on your blog. But you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you still need to contact me – thanks!
HI! I super love this! But unfortunately, when i downloaded the pdf. the letters and some pictures didnt show. Can you suggest something i can do? Thanks sooo much:)
Diane, I’m so sorry to hear that. 🙁 I haven’t heard from anyone else with the same problem. I’m afraid I’m not a techie by any means – but maybe we can figure something out?? Send me an e-mail at email@example.com with specifics about what’s not printing for you.
Thank you sooooo much!!! I shared along with your Blog info over at my Homeschooling Autism FB Group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/403986826381752/
Thanks so much for sharing!!
Wow! Thank you so much for sharing! Can’t wait to use this with my first grader who loves to write!
So glad you can use it, Beth!
Thanks for sharing this.
Noor Janan Homeschool
Thank you so much!
You’re very welcome!
I’m sorry cannot download My first spelling dictionary for pre K kids, how can I get it please?
Thank you so much for sharing this excellent resource!
You’re so welcome, Erin – thanks for linking to my guest post at This Reading Mama and to the dictionary!
I will adapt them to use the dictionary resources in German 🙂 Here children don’t go to school before they are 6 or 7 years old. Most of the kids haven’t learned how to read or write before school and I am not sure it might make primary school experience better or boring if they know how to do it. We have great schools too and teachers, but they often aren’t prepared to deal with “clever” children or those who wanted to learn things earlier and did so. Differentiating (?) tasks.. no clue how its called in English … I mean tasks that are so to say customized for the individual kids are still not used enough. Anyway, my four-year old loves to copy letters, I will just try and see how she likes doing it in a more structured and guided way. Thanks so much!!
Hi Conny — I’m sorry it took me so long to get back to you. In your comment you talked about differentiating instruction (that’s what we call it here) in Germany – that teachers aren’t often prepared to do it. It’s definitely something we learn here as we study to be teachers, but in practice I’d say not many teachers actually do it. It’s much easier to have everyone do the same thing. When I taught I varied instruction for my students, but I had a hard time convincing my co-workers to give it a try.
As for teaching kids too much before school so that they are bored… I’ve heard that before, but in my experience it doesn’t hold. My daughter was reading fluently before kindergarten – she has a great teacher, but she doesn’t differentiate instruction – and she loves school. When I taught the really bright kids (who also were well behaved) I was able to challenge them and they read in their spare time or did their own projects.
Anyway — hope your 4 year old can use the dictionary!
I hope to be at your link up this week, Stephanie! I missed the other one 🙁
This is fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing on We Made That!
You’re so welcome, Tracey!
Love to Learn
These are fantastic, thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Love this idea of the spelling dictionary! I have pinned this onto my Language Arts board. Thank you for linking up this week to our Hearts for Home Blog Hop!
Thanks so much for the pin, Jill!
I love it! Pinned! I showed my daughter and she’s very excited about this. We have a little spelling reference book that was her brothers that she has at school that she uses quite a bit. She has wanted one for home and I think this is perfect. I love that it has room to add words. I am sure it will be filled by summer’s end!
I’m sorry your comment slipped by me, Diana. I’m so glad you can use this!
Thanks for this -we used to have these when I was at school. Great resource!
You’re so welcome!
This is great, I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog on pinterest. This may be a silly question, but I’m wondering if the Writing Workshop you mentioned is a curriculum you purchased or if it’s something you made up? Writing (not handwriting) is not a strong area for me, at least in teaching it, so I’m looking for some resources I can use.
That is such a great question, and I am going to go back into the other post to clarify.
First of all, I understand that writing is not a strong area for you because that’s true for most people. That’s why, I think, most people teach writing with just a prompt; they truly don’t know what else to do.
Writing Workshop is not a curriculum; it’s just a way of teaching writing developed by an amazing educator named Lucy Calkins. It looks different in different grade levels, but this is the general idea:
a) Teacher (or homeschooling parent) gives a mini-lesson. Here are sample lessons for different age levels:
prek: draw a picture and write one letter to label the picture.
Kindergarten: how to stretch out a word and write the sounds you hear.
1st & 2nd grade: how to brainstorm to get writing ideas
3rd & 4th: how to choose more interesting words for your writing
b) Give the kids lots of time to write. On any given day they may be: coming up with a new idea, writing about that idea, revising their work (changing it to make it better), editing their work (fixing spelling and grammar), or publishing their work (rewriting it or typing up their final copy).
c) While kids are writing, you step in to “conference” – talk to them about what they’re doing and give assistance. In a classroom, a teacher walks around the room, keeping track of whom she’s talked with and taking notes about what to check for the next time she meets with those students. A homeschooling parent would offer encouragement and suggestions, but would not hover.
d) Kids would share what they’ve written — in a classroom, just a few kids would share, or kids would share with buddies. At home the child could save his work to share with Daddy or a sibling.
Here are some links that might help you:
And here are some excellent resources:
The Art of Teaching Writing, by Lucy Calkins (a fat book! but really, truly excellent if you have time for it)
Mini-Lessons for (K, 1st grade, 2nd grade, etc.) Here’s a link: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Mini-Lessons-First-Grade-Four-Blocks/dp/0887248136/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366936679&sr=1-1&keywords=writing+mini+lessons+for+first+grade — these books are much shorter and very practical
Can I ask if you are a classroom teacher or a homeschooling parent?
I do plan to offer mini-lessons in the near future. I may be working with another blogger to develop those, so please check back! If you follow by e-mail, you won’t miss it 🙂
Thanks for explaining, that’s really helpful. I am definitely going to check out those links. I’m a homeschooling mom to ages 8,7,4,2. My 8 yo is finishing up 3rd grade, and she loves to write stories, I just have a hard time helping her make them better. I can see the big picture, that to make her writing better she could be more descriptive, add more sentences, etc. And I can correct her grammar and spelling. But I don’t always know how to go about teaching her those things at her level in a way we can build on. Wow, I need to start researching curriculum… 🙂
Hello, again, Stephanie! I was thinking of you recently when I dug through my files and found a presentation I gave on Writer’s Workshop at a teacher’s conference some years ago. It is written for classroom teachers but is easily adaptable to home instruction. I can e-mail you the document if you’d like. If you’re interested, just reply to this comment with your e-mail address or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to hear from you!
As a classroom teacher, I loved Writer’s Workshop. Even the most reluctant writer wanted to share something. When I came home to teach my children, I let go of it as one of those things that was a “classroom” strategy, so I am very intrigued how you make it work, especially the management of their work and the different grade levels. My kids are 8, 5, 3 and 1. I’m trying to wrap my brain about so much. What I am saying is I would probably really love a class.
Thank you for spelling dictionary!!
Hello, Angie! I am planning to start up Writing Workshop at the table this summer, and at the end of the summer I am teaming up with This Reading Mama to share a writing mini-lesson series. We will likely be starting with preschool and then move into the primary grades a few months later. I think that doing Writing Workshop at home is ideal (even though I admit I’ve yet to try it!) because you can conference as often as you need to and give such personalized instruction. We’ll see 🙂
See the Reading/Writing Connection by Regue Routman. She is a writing guru!
I love Regie Routman’s books too! “Writing Essentials” and “Reading Essentials” are two of my favorites.
What a FANTASTIC resource! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Angela! I hope you can use it!
I love the web site. I use everything because I teach kindergarten and grade 1. I found the web site has so much to offer.