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Say What? A Parent's Guide to Forgotten Literacy Words

Here is a handy refresher for some of those words we haven't thought much about since the fourth grade.
on May 11, 2014

Have you ever sat down to help your child with a homework assignment or school project and felt like you needed a dictionary before you began? On occasion, a worksheet will come home with one of my children and I'll find myself attempting to recall information I learned 20+ years ago. When we're not using information on a regular basis, we tend to forget. I don't know about you, but I don't often discuss onomatopoeia or homophones in my everyday life. While we remember things like adjectives and verbs, we might find ourselves scratching our heads when it comes to things like dipthongs and digraphs. 


Here is a handy refresher for some of those words we haven't thought much about since the fourth grade. 



Synonym - A synonym is a word that has the same or nearly the same meaning as another word. 

Example: Huge and enormous are synonyms. 


Antonym - An antonym is a word that has the opposite meaning of another word. 

Example: Wet and dry are antonyms. 


Homonym - Homonyms are words that are pronounced the same and have the same spelling, but have different meanings. 

Example: The tree is covered in bark. My dog likes to bark. 


Homophone - Homophones are a type of homonym. Homophones are two words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings. 

Example: I love to buy things on sale. Do you know how to sail a boat?  


Homographs - Homographs are words that are spelled the same, but have different meanings. 

Example: I went to the county fair. It's important to play fair.


Dipthong - A dipthong is when two vowel sounds are connected in a smooth, gliding manner. A dipthong is two adjacent vowel sounds in the same syllable. The vowels don't necessarily make the sound of either vowel. 

Example:  oi in boil, ou in round, au in sauce


Digraph - A digraph is two adjacent letters that make one sound.

Example: ck in black, ea in reach


Onomatopoeia - Onomatopoeia is the written representation of a sound. 

Example: oink, crash, tweet 


Predicate - The predicate is the part of the sentence or statement that tells something about the subject, and typically contains a verb. 

Example: The baker made a chocolate cake. 


Simile - A simile is a type of metaphor that compares two objects using the word like or as. 

Example: sly like a fox, quick as a cat


Idiom - An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the individual words, but instead has a separate meaning of its own. 

Example: You have a chip on your shoulder. It's raining cats and dogs. 


Hyperbole - Hyperbole is an exaggeration. It is typically used to make a point, and is not meant to be taken literally. 

Example: I'm so hungry I could eat a horse. 


Alliteration - Alliteration is when a series of words begin with the same sound. 

Example: Baby Billy borrowed a bottle. 


Preposition - A preposition is a word that comes before a noun in a sentence to show its relationship to another word in the sentence. 

Example: The fox burrowed under the ground. (The preposition under shows the relationship between the words burrowed and ground.)


Pronoun - A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. 

Example: She, he, it


About this blog

In the Learning Toolkit blog, get quick and easy tips on how to support your child’s learning at home. From arts and crafts activities to conducting science experiments, we offer simple and fun ways to support your learner’s development at every age and stage.

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