Upper Elementary Words: The Proper Use of Homonyms

Is your child currently learning how to use homonyms at school? If so, then keep reading to find out methods that you can use at home to help your child.

Find available tutors

Teaching Children How to Use Homonyms Properly

What Are Homonyms?

Homonyms are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. For example, the words 'aisle' and 'isle', 'ate' and 'eight' and 'cent' and 'scent' are all homonyms. Children often speak with homonyms effortlessly at a young age, but struggle in upper elementary school when learning the correct spelling for different homonyms.

Using Word Parts and Context Clues

Learning the proper use of homonyms with upper elementary words involves a lot of memorization; however, learning about common roots, suffixes and prefixes can make working with homonyms easier. Your child will then be able to deconstruct the word parts in his or her brain upon seeing them. In doing so, your child will gain an understanding of the differences between the words.

Using context clues is another helpful way to determine the different meanings of homonyms. For instance, in the sentence, 'I ate eight sandwiches,' it's clear that 'ate' is functioning as a verb and 'eight' refers to the number of sandwiches. Similarly, consider this sentence: 'The dog picked up the criminal's scent.' Here, your child will likely be able to tell that the dog didn't pick up a coin, but rather, the criminal's smell.

Teaching Your Child about Homonyms

Start with seemingly simple words, like 'flower' and 'flour'. Your child may already know the definitions of these words and use them in everyday speech. Write them side by side with two pictures to represent each word. Have your child write each word in a separate sentence using the proper spelling of both. Once your child can do this with a certain amount of skill, you can move on to more challenging words like 'flair' and 'flare'.

Helpful Resources

A number of websites provide free games, activities, worksheets, quizzes and tests that your child can take to learn about homonyms. For example, there might be a list of words on the left side of the screen and another list on the right. Your child will be required to drag each individual word on the left side to the corresponding homonym on the right.

If your child is struggling with homonyms or other aspects of reading and language arts, consider hiring a personal or online reading tutor. There also may be reading experts who can help your child at school, a local library or a learning center.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Don't Let your Child Struggle with Words

    Most students, at some point in their academic careers, will struggle with their reading skills. Parents can be on the lookout for possible signs of trouble. Parents can turn to online tutors, face to face tutors, or choose to work directly with their child. Read on to learn more.

  • More Blog Articles
    How to Teach Your Kids to Use the Internet Responsibly

    A question for parents: would you allow your children to play outside without keeping an eye on them? Many would likely say no. Well, the same mentality should be used when your kids use the Internet; in other words, kids should not be allowed to roam the vast world of the Internet unsupervised and without fully understanding its...

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth