A children’s thesaurus is just as essential as a children’s dictionary. But it has to the right one. Let’s face it, your typical tome is useless to a fourth grader. Likewise the super compact ones that have no room for anything but a list of words. But the right thesaurus can not only help your child find the right word, it can improve their vocabulary in the process. The trick is to get one that has a look to it that invites them in and provides more than just a list of words.
My current favorite for the elementary crowd is the Scholastic Children’s Thesaurus. The pages are bright and each synonym is defined right there on the page. No more picking a word and hoping it means what you want. Now your child can pick the exact right word every time. In the workshops I lead, the kids who take the time to look through their copy and use it as they write definitely add new words to their vocabulary over the course of the 10-week session. It’s exciting to see them getting excited and confident about describing something precisely. There is a Scholastic Student’s Thesaurus but it is more appropriate for a middle school kid with a good working vocabulary because it does not include definitions but does include more words. You can see both in KidWriteBooks and decide for yourself, but we use the Children’s Thesaurus for grades K- 6 with great success.
Once the kids are in middle school, they’re ready for something with a bit more oomph. The Scholastic Student’s Thesaurus is a good choice for this age. For high school, I recommend a thesaurus that is neither bright nor inviting. It is amazingly useful because it combines a dictionary with a thesaurus. It’s the Webster’s New World Dictionary and Thesaurus and you can see this book in KidWriteBooks, too. Click on the cover for details but I can tell you that this volume does an outstanding job of defining the words as a dictionary at the top of the page and including related words at the bottom.
Before we end, I have to mention the outstanding Junior Dictionary/Thesaurus for the Pre-K to K group. The problem is, it’s hard to find. You can click on the cover in KidWriteBooks and see for yourself. If you can find a copy, grab it! It’s an excellent way to get your littlest wordsmiths enthralled with words.
We’ll cover dictionaries in detail next post.