A dictionary is so important for helping kids become readers. New readers typically stumble upon words that they may not be familiar with. Having good dictionaries for kids smoothens the learning process by providing easy-to-understand definitions alongside appealing illustrations.
What are some of the features of children’s dictionaries?
- Easy to comprehend definitions of words
- Realistic sentence examples
- Significant amounts of diagrams, pictures and illustrations
- Level-appropriate synonyms, antonyms and homonyms.
- Interesting designs and themes
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of age-appropriate dictionaries that are sure to nurture an avid reader.
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20 Beautiful Dictionaries for Kids
Here are 20 of the best dictionaries for kids:
Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary
Published: December 31, 2019
The Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary was created with kids in mind. It features over 35,000 entries and full-color photographs and illustrations to create an all-round fun learning experience. Each word is explained in detail with its respective examples, use, and notes on spelling and punctuation. This dictionary is a useful research resource for kids aged 7-9 years working on their school projects.
My First 1,000 Words
Published: September 5, 2018
It is never too early to introduce toddlers and babies to simple vocabulary. This dictionary is a useful resource for parents looking to develop their toddler’s observational skills while teaching them simple words. It features vibrant well-researched pictures and accurate word labels for easier grasp and information retention. The topics covered in this dictionary include Animals, transport, body parts, baby objects and action words.
Scholastic Children’s Dictionary
Published: September 3, 2019
Equipped with information on contemporary technological, scientific and cultural terms, this dictionary is perfect for ESL learners and kids in grades 3-7. It tackles pronunciation, grammar, and idioms and even includes sentence samples to provide a better understanding of the English vocabulary. The in-depth sidebars feature bold, colorful images, making it kid friendly and ideal for both classroom and home use.
French-English Picture Dictionary
Published: November 20, 2003
Are your kids interested in learning French? This bi-lingual dictionary offers a fun way for English-speaking children to build a vocabulary in french. It is filled with bright and colorful pages that motivate second language acquisition in children. The pictures are labeled with English words and their French equivalent, accompanied by their phonetic spellings for a more engaging learning experience. Parents and teachers will also find this dictionary a helpful learning resource.
Oxford First Dictionary
Published: January 1, 2018
Tailored to meet the needs of budding readers, this dictionary will surely build a love for words in kids starting school. It includes up-to-date colorful illustrations and detailed information on shapes, numbers, alphabets, the body, seasons, and age-appropriate vocabulary. The pages in this dictionary contain words that support comprehension and improve spelling, as well as grammar tips and activities. This book is also available in paperback and is a perfect addition to home libraries.
Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary
Published: September 1, 2016
The Roald Dahl Dictionary is not your normal dictionary. It specifically focuses on the words that Roald Dahl invented and used in his works of literature. After all, most of these words cannot be found in most dictionaries. Kids will also have fun learning where words came from, rhyming words, synonyms, and alternative words for often overused words. Roald Dahl lovers will find this dictionary a great resource for cultivating their reading, pronunciation and writing skills.
Merriam-Webster’s First Dictionary
Published: March 15, 2021
Young readers will love expanding their vocabulary with this 3,000 words engaging learning tool. It takes a fun approach to introducing kids to an interactive way of discovering new words, their meaning, and how to spell them by incorporating 1,000 entries and hundreds of captivating illustrations by beloved children’s illustrator Ruth Heller. Aside from exploring different words, this dictionary teaches kids basic dictionary skills and encourages language exploration.
Merriam-Webster’s Elementary Dictionary
Published: January 1, 2019
Merriam-Webster’s Elementary Dictionary is a perfect resource for both school and home learning. This dictionary covers robust vocabulary from various fields, including the science and technology fields such as STEM. Its colorful diagrams, illustrations and photographs enhance kids’ understanding of different concepts. The word history, word root, and synonym paragraphs encourage learners to build their vocabulary and spelling skills.
Oxford Children’s Thesaurus
Published: May 7, 2015
Oxford always does a great job of providing resourceful dictionaries for kids. The Oxford children’s thesaurus contains over 45,000 synonyms with age-appropriate examples and opposites. It also features overused words and suggests alternatives to each. Kids are also equipped with writing tips that offer advice and even more vocabulary. This dictionary is ideal for kids aged 8-12 years.
The Dictionary of Difficult Words
Published: April 30, 2019
For wordsmiths looking for a dictionary that is capable of testing their wits, this dictionary ticks all the checkboxes. It contains 400 words that aim to amaze, challenge, and instil an easier understanding of common difficult words. All the words in this dictionary are either difficult to say or hard to spell for the average kid (or adult). However, lexicographer Jane Solomon does a great job of simplifying the definitions of these words. This dictionary is a must-have for classic word games.
Scholastic Pocket Dictionary of Synonyms, Antonyms, Homonyms
Published: July 1, 2012
This pocket dictionary is one that most readers and writers will find appealing. It offers the convenience of interacting with words on the go and literally having a significant amount of synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms at their fingertips. It’s the perfect dictionary for middle graders and intermediate-level English language speakers seeking to build their writing skills.
Children’s Dictionary: 3,000 Words, Pictures, and Definitions
Published: November 20, 2018
Appropriate for grades 2-6 (4-9 years), this children’s dictionary does a great job of instilling better vocabulary for everyday interactions. Filled with colorful pictures and illustrations, young children and students will find the words in this book ideal and easy to comprehend. It is the ideal resource to guide learners in their first steps through the English language.
My First Dictionary: 1,000 Words, Pictures, and Definitions
Published: July 16, 2012
This series is a useful tool for exposing your little one to the world of words. Ideal for toddlers, this dictionary is filled with carefully crafted definitions of everyday nouns, verbs, and adjectives that kids encounter in their everyday lives. Each of its 1,000 entries is fact-checked to ensure it is relevant to today’s kids and meets their needs. It has beautiful pictures to go with each word hence the perfect resource for beginners seeking to establish their vocabulary.
Children’s Illustrated Thesaurus
Published: June 6, 2017
The Children’s Illustrated Thesaurus is a great addition to any reader’s library. Recommended for kids aged 9 years and older, this comprehensive dictionary contains more than four thousand entries, each supported by age-appropriate definitions and valuable sample sentences to boost kids’ confidence in using and choosing words. It offers a foundation for learning word types, and synonyms and antonyms(basic and advanced). The combination of authoritative content from Collins and the fun and fresh illustrated word features in this dictionary makes it worth the purchase.
Once Upon A Word: A Word-Origin Dictionary for Kids
Published: February 25, 2020
For some, understanding the origin of a word is as interesting as the word itself. English words are rich in history, therefore, understanding how these words evolved offers a new way of learning how to play with the language. This dictionary does just that. It helps kids understand the meanings of various words, how to spell them, and the building blocks that make up words. It also uses easy-to-understand language and incorporates origin stories, making it a great resource for kids who want to explore the evolution of the English language and its vocabulary.
Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms
Published: July 1, 2006
Understanding idioms has never been easier. Designed for kids 8+ years, this dictionary highlights more than 700 common American phrases, sayings and expressions. It provides origin and explanations for various idiomatic expressions and kid-friendly sample sentences. The alphabetical listing and cross-referencing index offer a quick way for readers to find idioms. This dictionary takes a fun approach to learning thanks to Marvin Terban’s amusing but educational entries.
Space Dictionary for Kids
Published: September 3, 2021
The Space Dictionary for kids is a great resource for teachers, pre-service teachers, and students in the upper elementary range. This dictionary has illustrated definitions of the solar system, stars and galaxies, cosmology, space exploration, and exoplanets and astrobiology. Every page has a sidebar that offers additional information on the topic of space with examples, diagrams, and quizzes to enhance better understanding. The sections and colorful illustrations make all the information more interesting and easier to digest.
Scholastic Dictionary of Spelling
Published: July 1, 2006
Spelling is an integral part of mastering the English language. The Scholastic Dictionary of Spelling is an instant spell-check resource for young writers who wish to improve their writing skills. It has 1,000 words and is divided into sections such as “The Spelling Words That Made Kids Champions” for a more interactive learning experience. The introduction provides guidelines on how to look up unfamiliar words and additional tricks on how to correct commonly misspelled words. Each word in the dictionary is divided into syllables for those kids who would want to go the extra mile and practice pronunciation.
The American Heritage Children’s Dictionary
Published: July 17, 2018
The American Heritage Children’s Dictionary is ideal for kids aged 8-12 years (grade 3-6). It is packed with information, making for a great addition to any curriculum. It features age-appropriate vocabulary, easy-to-understand definitions, lively example sentences, and delightful color images. It also has note boxes which highlight quotations selected from popular and classic young adult and children’s literature and show key vocabulary words in context. This visually appealing dictionary is a solid choice for parents seeking to enhance their children’s learning experience.
Oxford’s Children Rhyming Dictionary
Published: September 1, 2014
It is never too late to introduce your little one to the beauty of poetry. This colorful dictionary contains alphabetical words that rhyme with a list of sounds, making it easy for kids to identify rhymes while building on their spelling skills. The final pages of this dictionary have highly engaging activities that offer invaluable descriptions of different types of rhymes, from raps and chants to limericks and couplets, to help children understand different varieties of poetry.
There they are: 20 of the best dictionaries for kids! Which one of these have you used? What did I miss?