Just Imagine

Word Awareness: Vocabulary for Reading and Writing Training


This online course which looks at the most effective ways to enrich and develop children's language to develop their reading comprehension and support writing.

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 key words
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 vocabularies that are 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 online course presents a framework for a blended approach to teaching vocabulary, allowing teachers to make the best choices depending on learning needs, rather than the ritualised use of published lists that may not be most appropriate. We will, however, offer some labour-saving resources and strategies so that individual teachers are not spending wasted time on 'reinventing the wheel'. The use of our dedicated forum will allow participants to share ideas and work in process with each other and course tutors.

The content covers 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 way to teach them using a broad range of strategies.

Areas of focus

  • Research overview – what we know about
  • vocabulary acquisition and its role in reading
  • Providing a language-rich experience
  • Selecting words to teach
  • Teaching individual words in context
  • Mapping academic vocabulary through the school
  • Teaching word-learning strategies
  • Morphology
  • Etymology
  • Idiom
  • Cognates
  • Vocabulary journals that work


  • English leads, literacy leads, class teachers


  • 4 live online webinars (6 hours)
  • Gap tasks with a closed discussion forum
  • Pack of 3 children's books that can be used to explore language in the classroom delivered before the start of the course
  • 1 group Zoom session to review plans and discuss next steps.
Session 1 Wednesday 3 March 4.00 - 5.30
  • Introduction: vocabulary, a blended approach
  • The research context
  • Language-rich experience
Session 2  Wednesday 24 March 4.00 - 5.30
  • Isabel Beck's 3 tiers of vocabulary and application
  • Vocabulary and reading the pros and cons of pre-teaching
  • Selecting words to teach and ways to teach them
  • Building background knowledge and academic vocabulary
Session 3 Wednesday 21 April 4.00 - 5.30
  • Word learning strategies
  • morphological approaches
Session 4
 Wednesday 5 May
4.00 - 5.30
  • Etymological approaches
  • Effective ways to teach idiom
  • Is it useful to know about cognates?
  • Vocabulary journals that work.
Zoom session - choice of sessions to be given in the spring term


Course fees

£120 plus VAT

Payable by invoice or credit card. Payment must be received before enrollment is completed and the place reserved.

Discounted packages for multiple bookings from a school or academy chain please contact assistant@justimaginestorycentre.co.uk