Word Aware

Word Aware 2Word Aware:Layout 1Vocabulary is important the world over. In the US, the Common Core has brought vocabulary to the fore whilst in England the curriculum specifically highlights the importance of vocabulary. Vocabulary is important from Early Years right through to secondary / high schooling as a result of the vast explosion of topic specific information.

Hjetland et al (2017), in their systematic review found that spoken vocabulary predicted children’s latter reading development. Vocabulary relates to reading comprehension, but impacts equally on curriculum areas that require specific word knowledge such as mathematics and science.

Waldfogel and Washbrook, (2010) found a two year gap at aged 5 years between the wealthiest and the poorest. And as Ford-Connors and Paratore (2015) highlight ‘students who enter classrooms with a low store of vocabulary knowledge are unlikely to acquire complex knowledge through simple exposure’.

Word Aware is a structured whole school approach to promote the vocabulary development of all children. Focussed on whole class learning, the resource is of particular value for those who start at a disadvantage – including children with Developmental Language Disorder, Special Educational Needs and those who speak English as an additional language, but it will extend the word learning of all students.

This approach is full of practical and inspiring ideas that can be easily applied by busy classroom practitioners to develop both spoken and written vocabulary.

Word Aware has been developed by combining up to date research with extensive classroom experience. Stephen Parsons and Anna Branagan have been using this approach and training many practitioners since 2010. The end product is an effective and time efficient method for developing the spoken and written vocabulary of all children. It has been enthusiastically received by class teachers, head teachers, curriculum coordinators, Special Needs co-coordinators, Learning Support Assistants and Speech and Language Therapists / Pathologists.

The Word Aware book was first published in 2014, the 2nd edition is due out in August 2021. This supports children’s vocabulary development from 5-11 years but with simple adaptations it can be successfully used in secondary schools. The Word Aware book is available from routledge.com.

The Routledge Speechmark website has downloadable resources that accompany the book. You need to own a copy of the book and have it handy, in order to login. Click on ‘Sign in or Request access’. Then ‘Request access’.

The Word Wizard is open access.

Word Aware resources

Word Wizard

Word Pot photoWord Pot stickers

Language for Learning have produced a set of reasonably priced Word Pot stickers so you can make your own Word Pot. Postage is at cost.

Word Pot Stickers

Lang for Learning Logo


Lift Lessons

We are working in pertnership with Lift Lessons. They have developed amazing videos on science concepts for 6-14 year olds. A great resource. Free access for a limited period.

Lift Lessons


Word Aware 2: Early Years

Word Aware 2 was published in 2016. It is based on the same principals as Word Aware but it is adapted for the Early Years. It includes the fun and engaging ‘Concept Cat’ method to teach children early verbal concepts such as ‘both, corner, smooth and after’. Word Aware 2: Early Years book is available from Routledge.

Watch Word Aware 2 webinar


The Routledge Speechmark website has downloadable resources that accompany the book. You need to own a copy of the book and have it handy, in order to login. Click on ‘Sign in or Request access’. Then ‘Request access’.

Word Aware 2 resources


There are sing along versions of Word Aware songs on YouTube

Word Aware 2 songs


We have worked with the amazing people at Lift Lessons and they have developed Concept Cat videos for all the level 2 concepts.

Concept Cat videos


Amazon reviews for ‘Word Aware’

If you’re serious about improving the vocabulary of the children in your classroom, school, or even your home, then this book is an absolute fundamental. Packed with strategies, games, activities, and resources, whilst underpinned by theory. This book advocates a whole-school approach, where words are celebrated and are the subject of enjoyment. The Word Aware method is clearly outlined, and easy to follow with lots of examples alongside.

This is now up there with the most essential of my teaching books.”
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


Fantastic. Range of strategies for developing vocabulary across the primary age range. Easily accessible.”
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


Reviews for ‘Word Aware 2: Early Years’

The book starts with a detailed, interesting and clearly referenced introduction, which would be very useful for teaching staff and is a great refresher for SLTs. I like the fact that the approach is designed for the whole class, so it’s inclusive and that there is a strong emphasis on the importance of Adult Child Interaction.
Rhiannan Walton, Therapy Ideas Blog. Full review

In summary, Word Aware is a great resource for anyone working with Early Years children and I would highly recommend it. It has a good mix of theory and practical activities which can be put into practice immediately with education staff and parents.
Emmy Pratt, Speech and Language Therapist. Full review