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Vocabulary is a strong indicator of reading success (National Literacy Trust, 2017). We know from research that the size of a child’s vocabulary goes on to correlate with factors later in life such as employment, pay and even health and well-being as an adult. Children with a poor vocabulary at five are four times more likely to struggle with reading in adulthood. At Alder Grove, we also know that a good understanding of a wide range of vocabulary supports success across the whole national curriculum. Therefore, pupils are regularly taught new vocabulary in all areas of the curriculum.

At Alder Grove we develop vocabulary in two ways:

  • Through indirect instruction; using rich reading experiences to grow vocabulary ‘naturally.’ Paying attention to context to work out meaning and using background knowledge.
  • Through direct ‘robust’ instruction. Good vocabulary instruction involves…
    • Decisions about which words to teach
    • Decisions and expertise around how to teach these words

Teachers carefully select vocabulary they want to directly teach. Teachers plan direct instruction for tier two words, which are words that are usually found in written texts, but are infrequently used in conversation. A rich knowledge of tier two words can have a powerful impact on verbal functioning and be applied to a range of different situations (Beck et al, 2013).

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