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Monday, July 18, 2016

Guide Words in the Bilingual Classroom

Welcome back to my blog friends! Today I am here to share all about guide words and ideas on how to teach this skill in the classroom. I find that my students have such a hard time using a dictionary since it requires previous background of alphabetizing a set of words. If students can successfully alphabetize words, then using guide words and the dictionary will be a breeze.

However, if that’s not the case, here are some ideas and resources I have found effective with my kiddos. Keep reading there will be lots of FREEBIES, ideas, and a quick giveaway just for you!

**Alphabetizing Mat FREEBIE**
To start off, we practice alphabetizing words in small groups. At my teacher table, I provide the guide words on this laminated mat and they have to find a word in the dictionary that goes between those guide words then write the words in alphabetical order. As students master that, I am able to switch up the activity (with the same mat) where they have to find three words that go with those guide words. Then eventually I give them three words, and they have to find the guide words. Flexibility, repetition, and practice all in one practical mat!
I provide the alphabet at the top as a reminder and review very much needed for this skill. Click the picture to download this FREEBIE.

**Mini Anchor Chart**
Students keep these in their interactive journals and refer to the anchor chart as needed. These are a great visual reminder of where guide words are located.

**Guide Words Spanish Unit with Task Cards**
After we practice alphabetizing in small groups and have done our anchor charts, students can practice with these amazing task cards! I added the multiple choice option to practice for state assessments. The difficulty level in alphabetizing the words varies, some to the first letter others up to the second or third! Great for differentiation and challenges! This unit also includes a recording sheet and an answer key for students to check their own work OR to make it easier for you or a sub! There is also practice cut/paste pages for extension activities. My kiddos love to use these and it keeps them engaged. (Note: some students may need the alphabetizing mat to complete this activity, which is a great scaffold and tool.) 

**Guide Words Center Activities**
To assess and make certain students understand the concept, I bring a few students to my teacher table and have them complete a guide word sort from this CENTER. Again, difficulty ranges from alphabetizing to the first letter and alphabetizing to the second letter (two sets provided). Students complete this with my supervision, record their answers, and check with the handy answer key provided. Then they complete a practice page from the extension activities. 

Looking for more guide word practice in Spanish? You can send home your spelling list, a dictionary, and this worksheet for them to practice even more. 

How do you incorporate guide words and this challenging task in your classroom? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions below. Make sure to grab the FREEBIES above and rate them on TpT!

Check out my complete Guide Word BUNDLE HERE!!

Until next time friends XOXO!


  1. Hi! I'm going to teach first grade Spanish Immersion for the first time and these resources look amazing!! I have never thought about giving them palabras guia to help with alphabetizing. Would love love love the Guide Word Center if I'm one of the lucky ones! My email is beatrix.villanueva@gmail.com

    Thank you and keep up the great work, this blog is great!!

    1. So great to hear, Beatrix! I have sent that over, enjoy and good luck in Spanish immersion :)

  2. Love this post! This is something that will definitely help my kids this year! I would like the Guide Word Center. ke.reyna12@gmail.com

    1. Thank you for your response and reading my blog! I have sent that over :)

  3. This is a great resource to have. This will be awesome to use in the classroom and help the students even more. I would love to have the guide word center. dalia.matehuala@gmail.com

    1. Thank you, Dalia, for your response and reading my blog! I have sent that over :)