Picture Dictionaries and Why Students Need Them

What is a Picture Dictionary and Why Students Need Them

If you teach kindergarten or first grade, you may find yourself answering spelling-related questions often. In the classroom it was, Mrs. Mullins! How do I spell ______?! On repeat. All. Day. Long. My own children are now in kindergarten and first grade, and are daily asking, Mom! How do I spell _______?! This is what prompted the creation of the Picture Dictionary. Read on to learn more about picture dictionaries and why students need them!

Foster independent students

Young learners can be very self-centered (in a cute way😉) as they figure out how to be a part of the world. It makes sense. It also makes sense that they enjoy doing things themselves. “I can do it!” is a phrase we start hearing at age 2 or 3 and don’t stop hearing for a long time. The learners in your classroom are no different. 

A picture dictionary gives students a sense of independence. It will show them how to correctly spell words instead of asking you. As they’re developing their spelling and writing skills they can refer to the Picture Dictionary for guidance. Bonus points for the student because they are feeling independent and accomplished. Bonus points for you because you saved time in your day not spelling a word for your student. 

For your convenience, I have created a picture dictionary for young learners. Students from Preschool through 2nd grade levels will really thrive with the independence afforded them in this picture dictionary. 

The picture dictionary was designed to help young learners spell words without having to rely on their teachers or parents. Each page is thematic and includes a variety of words to choose from. They're easy to put together and use. They would work excellent at a writing station, too! #babblingabby babblingabby.net

This picture dictionary organizes words by category. The categories are thematic – fall, transportation, and Halloween, for example. The categories help your students know where to search for the word they need to spell. Easy peasy!

Students will create their own picture dictionary. Each copy of the picture dictionary can be printed, cut, and pasted into a notebook. Students will have extra room to add some of their own words to the dictionary that weren’t included.

The pages will be updated seasonally so keep checking here to see what’s new. Feel free to leave suggestions of what categories you’d like to see included next. 

Writing centers

Do you have a writing center? Be sure to add a picture dictionary to it, or have your students bring theirs along!

Writing centers are a great way to encourage creativity in students. They allow them to explore their imaginations with new ideas and stories that create themselves. Using a picture dictionary allows that imagination to go even further. They can write without the frustration of not knowing how to spell a word they want to use. 

Beginning writers

Picture dictionaries are especially good for beginning writers. Your students have lots of stories in their heads. Lots of those stories require lots of words. Because they often write about their life, the picture dictionary will help them put their story on paper. The picture dictionary will help students tell their stories without asking how to spell every other word! Can I get an amen?!

Pair the picture dictionary with a free desk helper for your students! You can customize it with your students’ names, addresses, and phone numbers, too. It also includes easy access to the alphabet, numbers, and shapes!

Download a free desk helper to make teaching preschool, kindergarten, and first grade easier. It's a one-page printable that shares the alphabet, numbers, colors and shapes. Students can use this resource at their desks to help them with letter, number, color and shape recognition. Download for free at babblingabby.net #babblingabby #free #kindergarten #deskhelper #classroomhelper #literacy #numeracy #colors #shapes #alphabet #mumbers

One of the main goals of a picture dictionary is to make students more independent and to ask the teacher fewer questions. This is true, but not because teachers can’t be bothered with something like spelling. Teachers love to help students and that is why they teach. However, it is the goal of all teachers to have independent students who can figure things out for themselves. Eventually, they mature in age and grade level and greater independence from the teacher will be necessary. By utilizing a picture dictionary, students are given yet another small stepping stone to becoming independent young people. Give your students a helping hand on their road to independence today! 

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Abby is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher who channels her passion for education into creating engaging activities and resources for the kindergarten and first grade classroom. When not dreaming up or working on her next project, you’ll find her enjoying her family – most likely in her minivan on the way to a soccer field.


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Hi, I'm Abby

Hi, I’m Abby! Thanks for stopping by. I love supporting kindergarten and first grade teachers with engaging, skill-based activities that are easy to use in their classrooms. Let me help you be the best teacher you can be!
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