Using the Storia Dictionary

How to use the Storia dictionary with picture and chapter books, plus four dictionary activities that enhance instruction

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

Why Use the Storia Dictionary Feature?

Storia's dictionary feature enables readers to acquire new vocabulary more easily by viewing the definition, seeing the word in context, hearing the audio pronunciation, and in many instances, seeing an image of the word. This multiple modality presentation will assist students in accessing and retaining new words.

What's Included in the Dictionary

The Storia Dictionary provides the following features for both picture books and chapter books:

  • The word's meaning
  • The word used correctly within a sentence
  • The word's pronunciation in audio and written format. The audio pronunciation plays automatically in picture books. For chapter books, simply tap on the audio icon next to each word.
  • For select words, an image or illustration (available in the picture book dictionary)

These additional features are available for chapter books.

  • A pronunciation key
  • The part(s) of speech
  • Synonyms
  • Word forms
  • Syllabication

How to Use Storia's Dictionary

It’s simple: just tap the unfamiliar word!

Storia’s dictionary feature varies slightly for picture books and chapter books to reflect the developmental level of the reader. The picture book dictionary provides natural voice readings of definitions and word meanings that are easy for young children to understand. Definitions in the chapter book dictionary are more complex and include additional detail appropriate for older readers.

The Storia dictionary is based on the best-selling Scholastic Children’s Dictionary and includes more than 4,000 words for picture books and more than 14,000 words for chapter books. 

Downloadable e-reading resources: You may want to suggest to your students that they use the Storia graphic organizers that focus on word work, including the Word Meaning Web Vocabulary Organizer (PDF) and the My Word Collector A-Z Vocabulary Organizer (PDF), the Storia Story Elements Graphic Organizer (PDF), or other vocabulary worksheets included in the Downloadable Teaching Materials to Use With Storia collection.

Accessing the Picture Book Dictionary

  1. Tap a word; the word is automatically read aloud.
  2. Tap “Look Up” when it appears.
  3. The dictionary dialogue box will appear and provide an audio pronunciation of the word. It then continues to read the word meaning and sample sentences, using the word in its appropriate context.  

Accessing the Chapter Book Dictionary

  1. Tap a word. 
  2. The dictionary dialogue box automatically appears and provides a variety of word features to help the reader understand the word’s meaning, usage within its appropriate context, and forms of the word.
  3. In order to hear a text-to-speech (audio) pronunciation in chapter books, the reader must tap on the sound icon at the top left corner of the Storia dictionary dialogue box.

4 Activities for Using the Storia Dictionary to Enhance Instruction

The Storia dictionary offers many possibilities for word study activities, from the simplest option of asking students to look up unknown words to more involved reading strategies.

Here are four word study activities that use the dictionary feature in Storia. Each strategy should be taught during a whole-class or small-group reading lesson and then practiced with teacher guidance. Students will be able to implement these strategies independently only after explicit instruction.

Activity 1: Infer and Define

This strategy encourages readers to rely on their own reading strategies as opposed to immediately heading for the dictionary. When your students come across a new, challenging, or unrecognized word, instruct them to do the following:

  • Highlight the word, open a Storia note, and type the unfamiliar word onto the note. 
  • Add your inferred meaning of the word using context clues and prior knowledge. 
  • After inferring a possible meaning for the unfamiliar word, tap on the actual word.  This will bring up Storia's dictionary, which provides a definition, along with an option to hear the unfamiliar word read aloud. Add the definition to your note.
  •  Finally, confirm or reject your original inferences. 

If you want to use these notes as an informal assessment, browse through them to monitor your students’ inferences and check their understanding.

Note:  Students should use this strategy no more than three to four times during a reading session so their reading comprehension does not suffer due to interruptions.  If this strategy needs to be used frequently, the text level may be above the student’s independent reading level. In this case, you should decide with the student whether this book is “just right” for the student.   

Downloadable e-reading resources: You may wish to use the Infer and Define New Vocabulary Words (PDF) and the Inferring New Vocabulary Organizer (PDF) to help scaffold your students on this strategy.

Activity 2: Storia Personal Vocabulary Lists

After your students use the Storia dictionary to define a word, they should enter that word into their personal vocabulary list for future reference.  This list should be stored in a location that is easily accessible during independent reading time and while they are writing about reading.

Tips for managing students’ personal vocabulary lists:

  • Print out an alphabetical organizer that students can keep in a folder or binder. The  My Word Collector A-Z Vocabulary Organizer (PDF) and the Word Reservoir Vocabulary Organizer (PDF) are two options.
  • Students can create their own word organizer by designating a section in the back of their notebooks for their personal vocabulary lists.  Draw horizontal lines in the middle of 13 pages. Students can then write two letters on each page (top and bottom) until they’ve created a space for each letter of the alphabet (A,B; C,D; ….Y,Z).  
  • After your students use the Storia dictionary to clarify the meaning of a word, they can record the new word in their personal vocabulary lists in the correct alphabetical section.  Decide with your students whether they’ll be writing just the word or the word and its meaning. 

Activity 3: Word Wall

You and your students can create a word wall bulletin board that is exclusively for newly acquired Storia words. Students can use the words to help them in their writing. They can retrieve a word from the wall, bring it back to their desks to refer to while writing, and easily reattach the word back to the word wall when they’re done.

You can print this Storia logo to display on the word wall so students will immediately connect their new Storia words to the words on the wall. 

Activity 4: Vocabulary Web

Use this post-reading activity to increase and reinforce your students’ reading, writing, and speaking vocabulary. As students engage in this activity, they will gain experience manipulating new terms.
  • Ask your students to choose from Storia words that they've had trouble either decoding or comprehending.
  • Have students write a word in the labeled text box.
  • Work with your class to infer the meaning of the word. As a group, write synonyms for the word in each labeled circle.
  • Call on volunteers to suggest sentences that use the word in the appropriate context.

Word webs are a good way to assess your students’ understanding of newly acquired words and their ability to use those words in context. Students can use the selected words and synonyms as writing starters.