Top Five Dictionaries For Children

A Good Dictionary Can Be An Outstanding Learning Tool For Kids

For children, dictionaries are an invaluable learning tool. For many kids, a dictionary is their first introduction to resource material and a dictionary can help them learn new words and expand their vocabularies.

​A good kid's version can safely introduce children to new terms that are appropriate for their age. Below, find five of the top dictionaries intended for children.

​Using a Dictionary

​The English language contains millions of words, but the average speaker only uses a small fraction of the current terms and phrases. Besides spelling and understanding new words, a dictionary can help users expand their English and improve their grammar.

Effective children's dictionaries include comprehensive and easy to understand definitions and combine them with helpful illustrations or photos. The combination of visuals and words can help children grasp new ideas or words that they may otherwise struggle to understand.

​When buying a dictionary for a child, make sure you purchase a recent edition. Particularly in recent years, the English language has become more fluid. Word usage and definitions can change, so it's important for your child to have the latest editions to ensure they understand language correctly.

If your child is struggling to manage a dictionary and use it effectively, you can make it a game to help him or her. Have your child pick a word at random and quiz you on its spelling and meaning; with thousands of words available, you're likely to not know a few, too! Then you can trade places and quiz your child. Using your dictionary in this way can make learning more fun and can engage your child.

Choosing a dictionary

​When shopping for a dictionary, look for one that is age appropriate. While you may be tempted to buy a version your child can use for years to come, he or she may get overwhelmed by the plain text versions intended for adults. Buying a dictionary specifically designed for your child's age group ensures the content is engaging and easy to understand.

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Merriam-Webster Children's Dictionary

The Merriam-Webster Children's Dictionary has over 35,000 words and phrases and is a key resource for children in elementary school. Easy to use, the dictionary has color-coded borders for each color of the alphabet so children can find the right section quickly.

​There are photos and illustrations to help visualize new phrases and words and the book can help children with their course work. Buy from Amazon »

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Thorndike Barnhart Children's Dictionary

The book has more than 800 sturdy pages, covers 35,000 words, uses a good sized type, and has a number of special features. These include 1,100+ color photos and other artwork, a 14 page reference section, and color spreads on a variety of topics. There is information on how to use the dictionary, as well as synonym studies and word source sections. Buy from Amazon »

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The American Heritage Children's Dictionary

This dictionary contains many interesting color photographs. It provides a very brief introduction to using the dictionary. It is more than 800 pages long and features a four page thesaurus, a 10 page section on phonics and spelling, and a reference section. It also contains information on word usage, synonyms, building vocabulary, and word histories. Buy from Amazon »

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The Scholastic Children's Dictionary

With technology constantly changing, even young children need to be aware of the latest terms. That's why the Scholastic Children's Dictionary includes technology and social media terms, as well as ​an expanded geography section. With thousands of words and terms, this dictionary is a terrific resource for middle school students.

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I Know About! Children's Dictionary

For young children, using a dictionary can be overwhelming. This version simplifies the process with photos and illustrations to help children understand new words.  With over 1,200 words, it can be a useful resource for young kids and new readers.

Finding a Dictionary

Finding a good dictionary is an excellent investment in your child's education. These five picks provide excellent resources that are useful and appropriate for young kids.