Synonyms and Antonyms: Vocabulary and Literacy Development

We Make Teaching Synonyms and Antonyms a Cinch!

synonyms and antonyms


Our students may experience a myriad of emotions when they can and can’t express themselves effectively, ranging from feelings of accomplishment and equality with their peers to a sense of frustration and anxiety when they compare their communication skills with others in their environment.



As speech-language pathologists, one of our goals is to support students so that they stand out in a positive way when they communicate. WE CAN help them to effectively access their lexicons and answer questions in a timely manner. WE CAN help children with their phonological development. WE CAN help children with their writing. We CAN help second language learners learn vocabulary in another language in addition to navigating their communication impairment. How?
synonyms antonyms

Research on Vocabulary Growth

Here’s a research snapshot demonstrating the importance of vocabulary growth and its connection to literacy skills. Keep in mind the powerful role we can play in fostering vocabulary development by teaching synonyms and antonyms!

synonyms antonyms


Oral language forms the base of reading and writing (Kamhi, A.G., & Catts, H.W. , 2012)

“… deficits in oral language have been found to be both a cause and a consequence of literacy problems (ASHA, 2001, p. 33).’”

Vocabulary development can influence phonological development (Lonigan, 2007)

300 to 400 new words per year can be taught through direct instruction (Stahl & Shiel, 1999).

Vocabulary in grade 1 predicts more than 30% of grade 11 reading comprehension, much more than reading mechanics in grade 1 (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1997)


Watch as children learn about synonyms and antonyms in an engaging way!

WEBSITES FOR SYNONYMS  amazing remarkable


Synonyms Activities

WEBSITES FOR ANTONYMS     frog synonyms antonyms


Antonym Match Up

Awesome Antonyms Match Up


thesaurus rex

Thesaurus Rex, by Laya Steinberg and Bobbie Harter 

if you were a synonym

If you Were a Synonym, by Michael Dahl and Sara Gray

big bigger biggest  Big, Bigger, Biggest, by Nancy Coffelt

pitch and throw  Pitch and Throw, Grasp and Know: What is a Synonym?, by Brian Cleary

stroll and walk  Stroll and Walk, Babble and Walk: More about Synonyms, by Brian Cleary

if you were an antonym  If you Were an Antonym, by Nancy Loewen and Sara Gray

black white day night  Black? White! Day? Night!: A Book of Opposites, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

American Speech-Language Hearing Assocation (2001). Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists with Respect to Reading and Writing in Children and Adolescents [Guidelines]. Available from
Cunningham, A. E., & Stanovich, K. E. (1997). Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability 10 years later. Developmental Psychology33, 934-945.
Kamhi, A.G., & Catts, H.W. (2012). Language and reading disabilities (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson
Lonigan, C. J. (2007, January). Development and promotion of early language and literacy skills in young children: Florida State University, Florida Center for Reading Research, Presented at Sacramento County Office of Education
Stahl, S. A., & Shiel, T. R. (1999). Teaching meaning vocabulary: productive approaches for poor readers. In Read all about it! readings to inform the profession (pp. 291-321). Sacramento, CA: California State Board of Education.

Written by: Carolyn Gutierrez

3 Comments on “Synonyms and Antonyms: Vocabulary and Literacy Development”

  1. October 27, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    Thanks so much for this post. I love the books you listed.

    • Carolyn Gutierrez October 28, 2014 at 8:41 am #

      We’re so glad that you found the resources helpful. I’ve had difficulty finding books to target synonyms/antonyms so it’s helpful for me to now have a list! This post is just one in a series that will provide you with resources to target different goal areas. Enjoy!!

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