Monday, February 7, 2011

A Personal Dictionary

Now that Brennan is a reader, he also wants to be a writer.  The other day he wanted to write a letter to his daddy.  He worked sooo hard on it, but it really frustrated him that he couldn't spell everything right.  He did not like guessing at how words were spelled.

Enter the Writer's Dictionary.

For teachers, this is not a new concept.  But if you aren't a teacher (and don't have a ton of them in your family, like we do), you may not have ever seen this before. 

We took a regular composition notebook, created tabs with cardstock, and made it cute. 

Now, when Brennan wants to know how to spell a word (that can't be sounded out easily and phonetically), we add it to his dictionary.  We started the dictionary with words he uses frequently like "want" and "love" and "friend," but we will constantly be adding to it. 

In teacher terms, these are "high frequency words," but we're also adding personal words or words that Brennan will want to reference more often.  Now the key will be convincing him that we don't have to add every word he can think of.

Yesterday Brennan wrote a letter to one of our sponsored children, Dalton.  He made an elaborate sticker picture and wrote on the back, "Dear Dalton, I am happy to be your new friend and I made this picture for you.  Love, Brennan."

Everything was spelled perfectly, which doesn't really matter when you're four years old and just learning, but Brennan thinks it does.

He was so proud.  And I'm excited to see him learn to be a great speller and confident writer!


  1. Such a fantastic idea!! I'm going to have to re-create this for my emerging reader!

    Wanted to let you know I'm passing on the Versatile Blogger Award to you! Check out my blog for all the details and great job!

  2. I teach 2nd grade, and I'm super impressed you did this for your 4 year old! Way to go, Mom! :) Super cute, too!


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