Guide Words Printable Lessons

About This Page

This page offers cards and other printable items that can be used for the guide words lessons. The guide word lessons include instructions for both beginning and advanced.

Prerequisite to Using the Lesson on This Page

The child should have mastered arranging words in alphabetical order up to the second letter. Prior to that, make sure that you use a dictionary in front of your young children so that the dictionary is familiar to them. If you need to review guide words and need an easy guide see Introducing Guide Words

Age Level - Skills

I have no solid age level recommendation. Instead, follow the trail of skills that your children have presently. Skills listed in order below:

  1. Can recite the alphabet
  2. Can arrange letters in alphabetical order
  3. Can read
  4. Can place words in alphabetical order up to 2nd word

Lesson One - Guide Words Activity

Printable Cards and Worksheet

Alphabetize Words up to the Second LetterPrint the cards on card-stock if you wish to use them for years, otherwise, regular weight paper should be durable enough if using this lesson a few times.

Words Used in the File - TXT

pdfSorting Words - Alphabetize to the Second Letter 5 pages, 180 words, see word list below.

The Guide Words Activity

With the word cards make four small piles, each pile should have cards that start with the same letter but each of the piles can be different from each other, such as an a pile, a c pile, and so forth. Print a pdfGuide Words Worksheet. If you want to make the worksheet reusable then you can either cover it with contact paper or place it in a page protector and use wipe-off markers.

--Set the piles of words in front of your child and ask him to put the words (in each pile) in alphabetical order. 
--Tell him to lay each pile on a square on the worksheet. 
--Starting with the first pile ask him what the first card is. He should tell you. 
--Instruct him to write the word on the upper left blank on the worksheet. 
--Tell him that the word is the first guide word for that pile of cards. 
--Ask him what the last card in the stack is. He tells you.
--Instruct him to write the word in the other blank on the right.
--Tell him that this is the other guide word for that stack of cards.

Do this with each stack. 
--Two Things to mention --

  1. The words in the piles of cards are in alphabetical order between the guide words.
  2. Guide words helps us to find words quickly in a dictionary or other reference books.

At some point, you must make this exercise more complicated. Use the J-K, and C, and D words to make some piles that begin with one letter and end with a different letter. The guide words for those will not start with the same letter.

Once you have taught your child about guide words and he understands their function, then you should start using the dictionary for guide words practice. i.e. Looking up words by using the guide words and applying this skill to other reference works such as an encyclopedia.

Lesson Two - Guide Words Houses

The guide words house is another version of the guide words exercise. I made this set years ago for my children with hopes that they could relate to the idea of the houses containing the guide words. I suppose other items would work as well such as drawers, closets, buckets and anything that a child knows should hold something. A parent also hopes that the child will think that the items held in such containers are in some orderly fashion, such as socks arranged neatly in a drawer.

Level one has the child alphabetizing each stack of cards with the same beginning letter for each house.

Level two has the child alphabetizing each stack of cards with both the same and two beginning letters for each house. There is one house worksheet in level two pre-made for you.

Level One

guidewordsOn a piece of paper draw four houses pdfOr you may use this house printout. On each house write a pair of guide words, such as: dark · decoy; elves · even; fly · free; lint · low. Print some blank cards from Game Accessories. I suggest printing small ones such as the 28, 30, or 36 cards. On each card write a word that will fit within one of the four guide word pairs.

The child is to cut out the words [or you can do this beforehand]. The child is to place each word on the house that has the guide words for that word.

My house printout is very plain, feel free to decorate it in any way you want. You could make the houses into pockets by gluing squares behind the houses and slitting the house along the bottom of the roof line.

Level Two

guidewordsAfter your child has done this at least once, make another card set and this time some of the words should not fit any of the guide words pairs, in other words, your child will have some cards left over after he places all of the stacks correctly. One lesson is already made for you, use this one the second or third time you do this exercise: 

The Harder Points of this Exercise

  • Some of the guide word pairs move into the next letter. [buy · carve]
  • Some of the words do not fit within any of the guide word pairs.

pdfCard Set pdfHouses for Card Set

!The card set has no margins and the edges might be cut off when printed. Before printing the card set, I recommend the Page Handling setting of "Fit to printable area" or fit to size or some such setting.
fit to printable area

After, or Along With, Teaching Dictionary Skills

Introduce the following: How to use the Encyclopedia if you have one, How to use the Thesaurus, and How to use the Telephone Book.

Using the Thesaurus to Refine Vocabulary

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