Tripping off the Tongue – Dinosaur Names

A number of teachers and learning support providers are using dinosaur names to help young children to appreciate and understand the sounds of words. As dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals seem to be very popular with young children, so these long extinct creatures can prove very helpful when it comes to supporting phonics based teaching.  A three-year-old happily tells us all about their favourite dinosaur, a Stegosaurus, yet the same child struggles to come to terms with the correct pronunciation of the own surname.

Diplodocus Not a Problem to a Budding Fossil Hunter

Why do children love talking about dinosaurs?  This is one of the intriguing questions asked of the Everything Dinosaur teaching team as they prepare to put together more lesson plans and schemes of work aimed at Foundation Stage children.  The ability to say correctly the name Diplodocus (and to correct anyone who does not pronounce the word properly), has been observed by many teachers as well as parents and guardians.  It seems that Diplodocus may not be a problem but saying “daffodil” or “digital” can be quite a challenge to a young palaeontologist.  Even the word “palaeontologist” does not seem to phase them.

Stegosaurus – Helping Children with Their Sentence Construction

Stegosaurus sentence construction

A typical teaching resource provided by Everything Dinosaur. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur’s experts were not aware of any study being currently undertaken into this specific element of children’s phonics and their grasp of speech.  Research has shown that young children up to the age of seven have an astonishing ability to pick up speech, language skills and enhance their vocabulary.  The sound of the words, particularly if accompanied with a picture of the prehistoric animal might make learning new words and sounds exciting.


The longest genus name, Everything Dinosaur’s staff were able to recall is Micropachycephalosaurus (mike-cro-pack-ee-sep-hal-oh-sore-us).  That’s a hefty twenty-three letters long.  Could dinosaur name pronunciation leave a tingle on the tongue?  Certainly, most young children learning about dinosaurs seem to relish and enjoy saying the names of dinosaurs.

There might be a strong sense of achievement after the pronunciation, as for many young children, the names of dinosaurs might be the longest and most complicated words that the child has encountered.  Children could be picking up cues from parents who might be expressing a strong sense of pride as their child says Tyrannosaurus rex, just like an accomplished academic.

Dinosaur Names Help Teachers

A number of parents, learning support providers and home educators have exploited a child’s fascination with dinosaurs to help them with their writing, reading and sentence construction.  If the young pupil loves Stegosaurus, then using this Late Jurassic plant-eating dinosaur in a fun activity to look at how to pronounce words and to get to grips with writing is a bit like pushing at an already open door.

Triceratops Speech Bubble Dinosaur Themed Teaching Aid

Triceratops helps with speech development.

Exploring emotions and helping to construct sentences. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur provides some handy, free, downloadable, dinosaur themed pronunciation bubble pictures.  These are available from the downloads section of the site along with other helpful teaching resources.

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s website: Everything Dinosaur.

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