French dictionary skills practice and games


These days, it can be difficult to engage our students with anything that doesn’t involve a screen. So, when we teach our students to use an ‘old-fashioned’ French-English dictionary we often hear “Why can’t we just use our phones or an online translator?” 


Using a printed French-English dictionary helps reinforce literacy skills such as alphabetization, spelling and letter sounds. They also give you more options for word choice and meaning, and provide important pronunciation and word classification information. Jessica, at French your Way offers some great tips that you can use with your students on efficient dictionary use in the FSL classroom. Visit her blog post HERE.


Of course, there are some online French-English dictionaries which provide this information and are great tools. I suggest these sites for digital use:


Collins Dictionary




Some of the activities that I like to use make dictionary skills and vocabulary practice into fun scavenger-hunt type games. Below are 2 of the activities that I have prepared that will BOTH engage your students and get them flipping through the pages of their French-English dictionaries!

Les lettres initiales - French dictionary skill practice

Les lettres initiales - French dictionary skill practice

Your FSL students will practice their dictionary skills with this French beginning letter mystery word & phrase activity.

This resource includes 5 mystery word activity sheets and 4 mystery phrase sheets, for a total of 9 activities. To use, your students will use their French-English dictionaries to identify the first letter of each word represented by each illustrated symbol. When complete, students will reveal the mystery word or phrase. Then, students will use their dictionaries again to translate that word or phrase. This activity can be differentiated using the illustrated key provided. Full teacher answer keys are also provided for this NO PREP activity.

Cherche et trouve | French alphabet and vocabulary activity


Cherche et trouve | French alphabet and vocabulary activity

This resource contains 12 French vocabulary ‘I spy’ activities for developing French vocabulary and dictionary skills. You students will search for images based on the beginning letter of each word, or identify the image by understanding the definition of each word.

This activity makes differentiation easy with 3 different activity types. You are provided with 6 half-page activities and 6 full-page activities for students requiring more of a challenge.