Best Dictionaries for Kids

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If you’re looking for a dictionary for kids, either for your classroom, library, or homeschool, here are the best dictionaries for children.

These are kid-friendly reference books that contain illustrations and definitions to help young learners learn to spell and learn new vocabulary words.

As an educator, I understand the ease of an online dictionary (like the Merriam-Webster Dictionary app or, but I think that at an early age, it’s important to look up words in a physical dictionary.

One big reason is that in a physical book, children can practice alphabetizing. They need to be able to look up words in the order of the alphabet. To best use the dictionaries, teach your kids how to alphabetize not just the first letters of the words but the second, third, and fourth letters. Then, when they have alphabetizing skills, teach them how to use the headwords at the top of the pages.

That being said, I like that the online dictionaries and dictionary apps also include audio pronunciations, etymology, and related words, including antonyms and synonyms. In addition, these apps have word lists for learning new words like this one from Merriam-Webster.

Best Dictionaries for Kids

My First Dictionary

ages 5+
Each of the 1,000 words in this dictionary is accompanied by a photo or illustration with the part of speech (nouns, verbs, and adjectives). The words listed are most commonly encountered by young children and include kid-friendly definitions. This kids’ picture dictionary is best for preschoolers and early elementary ages.

Scholastic Children’s Dictionary
ages 6+
I highly recommend this easy-to-read beginner-level dictionary with the words in red plus the parts of speech definition, a kid-friendly proper pronunciation guide, sample sentences, kid-appropriate definitions, and some illustrations. This dictionary includes a thesaurus plus guides to grammar, idioms, geography, and US presidents.

Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary
by DK
ages 7+
This reference traditional dictionary contains 35,000 words and 3,000 full-color illustrations making it my top pick for classrooms and libraries. I also like that the borders are color-coded for each letter of the alphabet. The words include the definition, notes on spelling and punctuation, and examples.

Children’s Visual Dictionary: Spanish-English

ages 6+
This is an illustrated dictionary with Spanish and English common words for kids who are learning English or learning Spanish. Grow your vocabulary with over 1000 words in two languages and a picture for each word.

Mrs. Wordsmith’s Storyteller’s Illustrated Dictionary

This deluxe, illustrated storytelling dictionary gets kids jazzed about words with over 1,000 words illustrated in entertaining cartoons. It’s a great word-finding resource to help grow a child’s vocabulary and directly improve their writing skills and storytelling ideas.

Scholastic Pocket Dictionary of Synonyms, Antonyms, & Homonyms

ages 8+
Designed for upper elementary and middle school students with more than 12,000 synonyms and 10,000 antonyms at their fingertips, this thesaurus book is a great reference tool. It requires some understanding of how to use it — with the antonyms in italic font after the list of synonyms.

Pocket Dictionary by Merriam-Webster

ages 10+
An advanced dictionary like with words, pronunciations, and corresponding definitions, this is best for high school students to carry in their backpacks — but not people my age (over 50) who need reading glasses because the print is too tiny! Merriam-Webster is a classic dictionary and if you want a bigger size, try this one.

BEST dictionary for kids


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    Hi! I’m Melissa Taylor, mom, writer, & former elementary teacher & literacy trainer. I love sharing good books & fun learning resources.

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