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I'm developing a software application for children and it would be useful to have an English dictionary with terms/words sorted by their "interestingness" to children aged 4-8.

Terms like "unicorn", "bunny", "cat", "dog" would be on top and terms like "differential equations" and "econometrics" would be at the bottom (or not present).

Any ideas on where to find such a list?

Are there any open source / free children's encyclopedia's or books available from which such a list could be generated?

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You can find many word lists in general internet searches, although as a parent of a young child, I found the following resources useful for the 4-8 year age bracket:

If you intend to have this age group read the words, then I hope you will consider including words from the Dolch List.

The Oxford wordlist allows you to create customised word lists based on high-frequency words found in children's books.

There are also many sources for public domain children's books. I found this (recently updated) resource from Gizmo's Freeware site particularly useful for sourcing ePub files and online books. If you are tech-savvy, you should be able to generate wordlists from ePub and/or pdf files from some of these links. There are literally hundreds of book links here.

I'm sure there are many other resources out there also; these are some that I found useful in my own experience.

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