Word Aware: a blended approach to vocabulary and language study

  • Are you prioritising children’s language as an area for development?
  • Is your vocabulary teaching integrated through text-based teaching and context?
  • Do you use a blended approach for teaching vocabulary, using the most appropriate strategy for the keywords at the right time?
  • Are you working at a deep level, or are you stuck in a rut with superficial routine practices?

Words are the bedrock of language. Children need vocabulary knowledge that is both broad and deep for secure reading comprehension. Limited vocabulary inevitably leads to poor comprehension. But which words do pupils need to learn and what are the best ways to teach them? This course presents a framework for a blended approach to teaching vocabulary. It includes a review of the evidence, which shows why vocabulary is central to comprehension. We briefly look at the real implications for learners who do not have the requisite vocabulary to succeed in school. Then we move on to analyse different types of words and the best ways to teach them using a broad range of strategies.

‘A total joy of a day. A rambunctious journey through words.’ 

Class Teacher, Woodland Academy Trust 



  • English leads, literacy leads class teachers

Key stage suitability

  • Primary, KS3


  • Participants will have a framework for teaching vocabulary and a toolkit to draw on for targeted teaching to meet the needs of different learners.

Areas of focus

  • Research overview – what we know about vocabulary acquisition and its role in reading comprehension
  • Providing a language-rich experience
  • Selecting words to teach
  • Teaching individual words in context
  • Morphology
  • Etymology
  • Idiom
  • Cognates