Modern languages - Dictionary skills surface

23rd September 2011 at 01:00

What is it?

The Secondary MFL Dictionary and Reference Skills collection covers French, German and Spanish, and includes some of the best resources for developing dictionary skills with S1-3 learners.

Getting started

There is a useful PowerPoint on dictionary skills, from knotty80, which would give pupils a good grounding for languages. What is a noun? What is an adjective? Each part of speech has its own slide with definitions, and how to recognise it. Pupils are asked to use their dictionaries to find the French, Spanish or German word for birds, table, girls, posters and brothers. They are given advice on how to use a dictionary and information on, for example, verb tables.

Taking it further

A collection for French dictionary reference skills includes a Dictionnaire de Sons, which builds on the teaching of phonics and encourages learning to continue.

For German, there is an excellent introduction to nouns in a PowerPoint on nouns and dictionary work, with a useful worksheet for practising them. Webquest German offers a very nice lesson involving some online dictionary work, and a variety of other tasks covering numbers and food vocabulary are authentic and motivating. There is also a useful worksheet on German plurals.

For Spanish, there are three dictionary skills lessons for beginner learners (P7) and a useful introduction to using a dictionary, which gives tips on accents and pronunciation in Spanish, and explains how to look them up (for example, m, n, n, o, p).

Where to find it

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today