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Wheatley CE Primary School and Acorns Nursery
Together we Thrive

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Wheatley CE Primary School and Acorns Nursery
Together we Thrive


Vocabulary Teaching at Wheatley

Research shows that vocabulary is key when it comes to children's learning:


"It is important to recognise that the effects of any type of reading strategy instruction will be limited if pupils lack the requisite vocabulary to engage with a text." (Education Endowment Foundation)


By closing the vocabulary gaps for children in our classrooms, we offer them the vital academic tools for school success, alongside the capability to communicate with confidence in the world. To ensure reading comprehension we require 95% understanding of the words on the page. It is not about being able to decode the words - it is about understanding what they mean. Therefore, we do not leave children's learning of vocabulary to chance. 


  • Our English Curriculum is based on 'quality texts' - real books that have extensive vocabularies that our children need to recognise and understand to be successful readers

Research tells us that children need to leave education with a word hoard of around 50,000 words in order to thrive in the world beyond and to communicate with confidence. We know that our reading vocabulary is typically much more complex than the vocabulary we speak, in other words, we understand the words we say and read, but do not know them well enough to use them in writing. Therefore we need conscious deliberate attention to word learning if we are to give every child access to the academic code needed for school success.


As Ludwig Wittgenstein said in 1921, “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”


So at Wheatley we immerse children in classrooms with rich academic talk and relate and connect words, making skilful word play into word depth. It is a planned, explicit approach to teaching children to be ‘word conscious’, to be word curious, to seeing consistent patterns and common meanings. Knowing a word’s spelling and pronunciation adds to depth, as does knowledge of related concepts, word families and word class.


  • Modelling reading and writing is at the core of what we do in classrooms; modelling language, reasoning, reading aloud, talking about what was read and written and extending vocabulary by introducing new words in context.

Triple Coding Approach

We explicitly teach vocabulary by ‘Triple Coding’. The word is categorised in its word class, a definition is discussed and a memorable image produced. Each class throughout the school follows the same format, with pre teaching, teaching, reviewing, and using, on a daily basis, repeated exposure using new rich vocabulary that has been chosen from our quality texts,  that children can confidently use in a variety of contexts.