You've already learned the word これ to refer to something close to the speaker, それ to refer to something close to the listener, and あれ to refer to something away from both the speaker and the listener.
In a formal setting, an alternative is to use こちら instead of これ, そちら instead of それ, and あちら instead of あれ.
However, when referring to things, it's more common to use これ, それ and あれ.
The other main difference is that you can use こちら, そちら and あちら to talk about people and directions, whereas これ, それ, and あれ cannot be used to refer to people or directions.
You can also use こちら, そちら and あちら instead of ここ, そこ and あそこ, and even instead of この, その and あの, if you place the particle の after them.
|This is my mother.||こちら は 母 です。kochira wa haha desu.|
|This way please.||こちら へ どうぞ。kochira e douzo.|
|What are you doing over there?||そちら で 何 を して います か？sochira de nani o shite imasu ka?|
|Where does this train go?||こちら の 電車 は どこ へ 行きます か？kochira no densha wa doko e ikimasu ka?|
|Do you know that child over there?||あちら の 子供、 知って います か？achira no kodomo, shitte imasu ka?|
And of course, to complete the set, there's どちら as well, meaning exactly what you'd expect.
|Which book do you like?||どちら の 本 が 好き です か？dochira no hon ga suki desu ka?|
|Which way are you going?||どちら へ 行きます か？dochira e ikimasu ka?|
|Which one is the correct answer?||どちら が 正しい 答え です か？dochira ga tadashii kotae desu ka?|