23rd September 2005 at 01:00
Dictionary skills are vital but practice can become boring if prolonged.

Little and often is the key with a variety of activities and competitions.

KS3. Organise a race by issuing sets of cards to be arranged in alphabetical order.

* Call out an unfamiliar word, spell it in the target language and ask pupils to find the definition. Ring the changes by requiring synonyms, antonyms, plurals and so on.

* Give everyone a flashcard and get the class to line up in alphabetical order. Set a time limit to add pace.

KS4. Draw attention to grammatical markers by issuing phrases for translation, eg "in a second"; "I second that"; "the second person". Use this to encourage cross-checking in the target language to English pages, eg "that's a lie"; "they lie down".

* Worksheets developing dictionary skills are excellent for cover lessons as non-linguists can still offer support.

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