The letter N is the second most common consonant sound in English. Only T turns up more often. This list of N words for kids is built to help students turn that basic sound into a fully developed linguistic concept. We've gone beyond a simple word list to provide engaging activities for students of all grade levels to learn words beginning with N.
Preschoolers are just learning the letter N. Therefore, you want to use pictures to help them get used to the sound N makes and recognize the letter itself. These N words can easily be combined with pictures for early letter learners.
Making that sound-symbol connection is the foundation of all future linguistic development. As a starting point, we recommend giving your youngest learners vivid images to connect with the N sound. We've developed a trace-the-letter activity with that in mind.
Since N is so common, it turns up in a great number of simple, kindergarten-appropriate words. At this level, the priority is to help them start spelling simple N words like CVC and CVCC words. You’re also introducing them to Dolch sight words like new, now and no. Use this list of N words to get your kindergarteners ready.
- Nag: To scold or harass
- Name: What a person is called
- Near: Close to
- Neat: Clean, tidy
- Need: Want or require
- Net: A grid of rope, string or tape, meant to catch something
- New: Existing for the first time
- Nice: Pleasant, friendly
- Nod: To move your head up and down, especially when agreeing with someone
- None: Not any of the presented options
- Nope: Alternative form of no
- Nosy: Curious about other’s business
- Not: Makes a verb negative
- Note: Short written message
- Noun: Part of speech for person, place, thing or idea
- Number: Word or symbol for a count of units
- Nut: Edible seed
Kids that are just learning to read and understand N words use image association to help them learn words. Harness this wonderful resource through a match the N word to the picture worksheet.
N words for kids matching activityClick to View & Download
As your first and second graders begin to read and write, they start to encounter the letter N throughout the language. Reinforcing that with an N words list is a perfect way to make sure the concept stays with them. Our list of N words and letter N activities are crafted to support that knowledge and help your students retain it.
- Neither: With "nor," ruling out two options
- News: Information about what is happening in the world, current events
- Night: Time between sunset and sunrise
- Nip: Small bite
- Noon: Time when the Sun is highest in the sky
- Nor: With "neither," ruling out two options
- North: Pointing toward the North Pole
- Neck: Part of the body between the collarbone and chin
- Nest: Place to rest, especially for birds
- Newt: A small four-legged amphibian shaped like a lizard
- Next: Event following this one
- Noble: Someone of high social class
- Noise: Loud sound
- Nugget: Small lump
All of these words are well suited for letter N activities. For example, simply passing a newspaper around your class, then reading out or summarizing an interesting story, will give them a wonderful feel for the word news. You can also have a dress-up day as a nurse, nun, ninja, or other occupation that begins with N.
Hopefully, your students already know where their necks are and, if TV and the Internet are to be trusted, they'll have at least a nodding acquaintance with ninjas. Reinforce that with pictures. A simple fill-in-the-blank quiz with engaging art will establish the words as fully formed ideas in your students' minds. We've provided a sample.
Letter n fill blank quizClick to View & Download
Again, many of these words will probably be familiar to some of your third and fourth grade students through daily use. The purpose of vocabulary aids like this one is to reinforce that familiarity into certain knowledge. Activities in these grades should engage students with the context and larger significance of the language we're presenting. At this stage of development, vocabulary moves from being a memorization exercise to a fundamental tool of lifelong literacy.
- Napkin: Piece of cloth or paper used to keep clean at meals
- Nation: Country
- Narrow: Thin, not wide
- Naughty: Misbehaving, doing wrong
- Needle: Small sharp tool for sewing
- Neighbor: Person living nearby
- Nerve: Part of the body that feels pain and makes senses work
- Never: Cannot happen, under no circumstances
- Noodle: Flat strip of pasta
- Nothing: Absence of something, zero
- Nada: None, nothing
- Nanny: A woman paid to look after children
- Nephew: The relationship of your brother or sister's son to you
- Nervous: Jittery, worried
- Neutral: Evenhanded, unbiased
- Nickel: 5 cent coin, or the metal that coin is partially made from
- Nightmare: Bad dream
- Notice: To take note of, to give your attention
- Nova: Explosion of a star
- Novel: Long fictional book, or something totally new (like an idea)
This is the age at which you can begin to talk about the subjective or idiomatic uses of language. See if your students know sayings like "never say never" or "better than nothing," then ask them to explain what the N words in those phrases mean. Write a bunch of idioms using N words on the board. Allow students to work in groups to dissect the meanings.
Several of these words were chosen to have interesting origins. Involve your students in their etymology. For example, nada came to mean "nothing" in English because it's Spanish for zero. "Novel" literally means "the new thing" because writing stories in prose was "the new thing" in the 16th century. Allow your students to connect to the magic of the English language by having them discover the etymology behind the N word list given.
The common occurrence of the N sound makes it a key element of vocab learning. That process starts with lists, but it opens out into the origins, consequences and possible future of the whole language. When students connect something as simple and abstract as the letter N to their own lives and stories, they become part of keeping the language alive.
Need some more options for your next vocabulary list? WordFinder has a neat list of words that start with the letter N. You can even fill out the advanced search fields to narrow your choices by word length and letters included. For more enriching vocabulary and etymology, take a look at our words starting with O!