A lot of the time we want to help our child to get an answer, but we don’t want to give them the answer. By giving a child phonemic (sound) cues or semantic (meaning) cues, we are giving them a way to find the answer by themselves. Children who have word-finding difficulties have the word in their head, they just don’t know the best way to find it.
Think about how you look up a word in a dictionary. You might think of the first letter of the word and open up to a random page. Next, you must be able to alphabetize, know how to use the guide words at the top of each page, know the letters that come before or after the word you are looking for, scan downwards when you are on the right page and there is the word!
What a long process. Now imagine the process if takes your brain to locate words and their meanings in you ‘inner’ dictionary.
Children who have difficulties finding their words, even when they have them in their head, need some guidance. Just like we have to learn how to use a dictionary, we have to teach the child how to ‘find’ their missing word.