2 minutes reading time (309 words)

Understanding Directional and Positional Words

Does your young child have trouble understanding directions? An easy way to help remedy this problem is to practice directional and positional words each day.

Around the house, in the car, and in the yard, there are always good opportunities for helping a child build concepts that describe location.

Here is a basic list of simple directional and positional words. Understanding the meaning of these words helps your young child better follow directions, comprehend reading and math skills and navigate social interactions.

above, below                         top, bottom                             before, after
on, off                                     over, under                              left, right
up, down                                in, out                                       near, far
inside, outside                      front, back                               start, finish

Also, simple ordinal words such as first, second, third, etc.

Some examples are:
“Please put the spoons on the table.” “Don't forget to make sure that socks get put in the hamper.” “Let's hang that nice picture you drew on the wall, over your bed.”
First we are going to the paint store, second we'll stop and get the cake, and third we'll stop at the park to play.”

When you are outside together, look for occasions to reference directional words. “Do you see that beautiful blue bird up in the tree?” “Be careful to jump over that big stick in the yard.” “Let's look under the porch for the lost rake.” “How fast can you hop around that pile of leaves?”

Another fun way to practice is to play an “I Spy” game, using directional and positional words as clues. “I spy something red in the sky above the house. What is it?” (A red kite.) “I spy something little and blue below the bush. What is it?” (A blue bird.) Then let her give you clues, using directional words, to identify something she “spies”!

Recognizing and understanding directional and positional words is part of Common Core State Standards and helps a young child improve academic and social skills.

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