Word Aware Books

Supporting every word learner

For children to understand what they read, to write expressively and access the whole curriculum, they need to be able to understand and use words. Teachers often identify that vocabulary is an issue for many of their students, but the sheer scale of the task can be overwhelming.

Word Aware books provide practitioners in schools with a complete package to effectively teach vocabulary.

They help teachers, early years professionals, special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs), teaching assistants, learning support assistants and speech and language therapists to support all children from ages 3 to 11 years. The books can be bought on routledge.com and there are also free resources from the authors below to help you learn more.

What is Word Aware?

Word Aware is a structured process for teaching vocabulary that has been developed and refined by experienced speech and language therapists, Stephen Parsons and Anna Branagan by working with thousands of schools, teachers and educational practitioners over many years.

Word Aware Video

In this video, co-author Stephen Parsons explains the approach and how it can be applied to any curriculum to  enhance word learning.

The Word Aware Approach

There are three steps to the ‘Word Aware’ approach:

  1. Get excited about words: this is about building a language-rich environment and having fun with words. This step creates opportunities for engagement in word learning.
  2. Teach words: teaching important words right across the curriculum. This step involves selecting the most important words and then teaching them using a quick, engaging method. This structured approach is applied to literacy, but also in maths, science etc.
  3. Independent word learning: most words are learnt independently, and so by specifically teaching word learning strategies we ensure all students have the skills to learn words on their own.

‘Word Aware’ is a whole school approach because the task is enormous, and it needs everyone to get involved over a number of years. The process needs to start in Early Years and keep going. Families are incorporated at every stage of the approach, because words are important for learning and life.

Which Word Aware book do I need?

There are three books in the Word Aware series, and if you haven't used them before it might not be obvious how they are different and which books are right for you or your school.

The books are designed to complement each other and offer schools a complete package to support all children from ages 3 to 11 years.

Word Aware 1 explains the core principles and evidence behind the approach and includes guidance on how to get everyone excited about words. It then provides strategies and activities for you to successfully teach words in a way that provides teachers and students with a great sense of progress.

It concludes by showing you how to develop independent word learning skills, so that the children you teach are enabled to learn words when they read, consume media and talk to others.

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Word Aware 2 takes the same principles from Word Aware 1 and applies them in the Early Years.

It explains how you can create an enriched word-learning environment in which children are surrounded by words and inspired to learn them. It then provides a process to introduce new words in a structured manner that will accelerate and deepen word learning. It will help you to identify young children with higher needs and includes strategies and exercises for  supporting them.

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Word Aware 3 takes the same principles from Word Aware 1 and applies them to supporting children with vocabulary needs.

It outlines the preparation required to successfully support these children and sets out a structured curriculum-linked intervention to develop word learning and word learning strategies. It provides all of the resources required to run a group for children who need support with their vocabulary development, including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) or those where English is an additional language (EAL).

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A whole school approach to vocabulary teaching

By using all three titles schools will be able to offer a structured approach to vocabulary teaching and learning that starts as soon as children set foot in school and takes them right through to the end. All learners will access the whole class teaching of ‘Word Aware 1 and 2’ but should they need it ‘Word Aware 3’ is there to boost their word learning skills. 

All three books are highly practical and contain a wide range of useful resources, both in the books and via the companion website.

Special school discounts are available on orders of 5 or more copies. Contact us to discuss your requirements.