A good vocabulary is essential for all our children as it helps to develop communication and reading skills, as well as increasing understanding in all areas of the curriculum.
At Churchill, we emphasise the explicit teaching of new vocabulary, and ensure this is part of our everyday practice. To this end, each class has a vocabulary wall in their classroom where unfamiliar, ambitious words found in their reading books and class texts are placed in a centre rectangle. As these words become more familiar and are understood and used by the children, the words are moved outwards across the board (see the photos).
Children learn the words on their vocabulary walls through a variety of approaches, including word games, sentence building and dictionary work. Use of these words is modelled in conversation and writing by the teachers. Children are actively encouraged to use them in their own verbal responses and writing.
Parents can also help their children to develop a wider vocabulary in a number of different ways:
Ronald Max, a professor of Educational psychology says, “Exposure to books, exposure to language, explanations for things, all give children opportunities for language growth and success at reading.”