Skip to main content

Challenging and Important Words

Sometimes children want to read books that have challenging words. When reading to your child, it is helpful to point to new words and ask your child to repeat them. You then can talk about the meaning of those words. It is a good idea to choose a few words to talk to your child about before reading the book. It can be useful to show your child each word in the book, ask them to say it, and explain its meaning.

Some words are more difficult because either the child has not learned the sound-spelling pattern in the word or the word contains irregular sound-spelling patterns as in the words pigeon or villain.

You can use this resource as a bookmark to remind you of the steps for discussing challenging and important words with your child as you read informational books. Print one-sided, cut along outside edge and fold on dotted lines, and use with your child as they read books. 

Here is a video of a family practicing challenging and important words:


Key Points

  • Mom points at the word veterinarian and asks her son to repeat it. They talk about the meaning of veterinarian
  • Mom selects three challenging words, examined, injured, and clever, to discuss with her son before they read the book. She shows him each word in the book, asks him to say it, and explains its meaning. 
  • Mom points out the challenging words and reviews their meanings while she reads to her son.