How Digital Word Collectors Increase Word Knowledge

How Digital Word Collectors Increase Word Knowledge

Have you ever thought about having students keep track of their sight words or vocabulary words in a digital format that automatically saves their work? This post is going to walk you through how students can use a digital word wall template in Google Sheets™(free download) as well as a digital dictionary in Google Slides™ to increase word knowledge with the help of various types of media. Get ready! This Back to School link up sponsored by the Reading Crew is jam packed with incredible literacy ideas for the elementary classroom.


I want to mention that these ideas are NOT intended to replace the traditional word wall in any classroom. I strongly believe that there should be a word wall in every classroom for students to easily refer to with a quick glance. The ideas presented in this post are to supplement word walls and to get students digitally documenting their words and making them come to life with different types of media.

Digital Word Wall

I've seen teachers create digital word walls using PadletThinglink, OneNote and a variety of other programs. THIS digital word wall in Google Sheets™ is just another option. The template is a one stop shop that is arranged by letter tabs (with corresponding emojis😎) that appear at the bottom of the spreadsheet. It will work on any device that supports Google Sheets™.

How to Use Digital Word Walls and Dictionaries in Google Drive™

The image below shows you the "title page" where students can type their name.

Digital Word Wall for Google Drive in Google Sheets

Below is an example of some "T" words I typed on the "T" words sheet. Having a digital word wall in Google Sheets™ allows the learner to do all kinds of things to help with recognition of certain wordsspelling patterns/features and meanings:
  • Change the font color of the spelling feature
  • Add emojis (device's emoji keyboard, JoyPixels extensionEmoji Copy and Paste, etc.) to represent meaning
  • Highlight the field to review certain words
  • Link words to various sources

Digital Word Wall for Google Drive in Google Sheets

This is seriously SO easy to use. First, assign the template so each child has his/her own copy. If you aren't sure how to do this check out my blog post: The Most Popular Ways to Share Google Drive Files and Templates with Students

Once students have their own copy, have them type in their name on the "title page". Then they just click on the letter tab they want to visit, click inside of a blank cell and type their word. It is already formatted for the word to align center in the cell using size 24 Comfortaa font.

Digital Word Wall for Google Drive in Google Sheets: Change the font color of spelling patterns/spelling features, add emojis to represent meanings of words, highlight the field of certain words for extra practice, etc!

Click HERE to grab a free copy of this digital word wall. 

Digital Dictionary

One of my FAVORITE resources in my TpT Store is THIS digital dictionary template in Google Slides™. It comes with a table of contents that is pre-hyperlinked to corresponding slides for each letter of the alphabet. This digital dictionary can be used on any device that supports Slides!

Many teachers have used this resource in their classrooms and here are just a few of their comments:

I have received requests to create a "bigger" dictionary for students to add even MORE words to each letter page. Therefore, I spent an entire week getting THIS digital dictionary created and uploaded. Holy hyperlinks😮! It took an insane amount of time to link all of the pages to one another but I know it will be worth it.

How it works:

Similar to my original digital dictionary, this larger dictionary comes with a table of contents slide that hyperlinks the letters to their corresponding slide. However, each letter has THREE slides available allowing for more room to add items as well as more words to each letter of the alphabet. I also added navigation buttons that come pre-hyperlinked for students to head to the next slide or return to the previous slide if they don't want to click on the thumbnail images or use the arrows on their keyboard.

Students can add all kinds of media and other special elements to their definition boxes. I always like for them to include the word, definition and part of speech. Then they can choose from:

  • adding images
  • adding videos
  • adding links
  • adding emojis
  • adding animated gif
  • adding voice recordings
  • adding Google Drawing creations
  • adding pronunciation by creating an audio clip to insert
  • typing sentences using the words and change the font style of the words to make them stand out

How to Use Digital Word Walls and Dictionaries in Google Drive™
This slide appears as the last slide in the digital dictionary.

Why use a digital dictionary rather than a paper copy?

  • no more making copies
  • can't be LOST
  • access from anywhere
  • allows for digital collaboration
  • easily share with parents via email
  • images & videos help the VISUAL learner
  • digital tools like the dictionary and research tool help assist student learning

If you are interested in using this template, it is available in my TpT Store HERE:

Don't Use Google Slides or PowerPoint?

You could still have students create digital dictionaries in programs/apps like Book Creator! Just have them set up a page for each letter of the alphabet and they could add most everything I mentioned above.

My Book

The book I am sharing for the Reading Crew giveaway is The Word Collector by Peter Reynolds:

Commonsense Media does an excellent job summarizing this story:

A review by Kids Book A Day made me giggle (the cons):

I guess Jerome needed a DIGITAL word collector to avoid the "messy scattering of words". He could have reached a wider audience since the digital work collectors I created in Google Drive can easily be shared by a single link. I bet his social media posts would have gone viral 😋!

☝️ Don't forget to head over to The Reading Crew's Giveaway to enter to win 20 new books for your classroom!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter