Hart, B., & T.R. Risley. 2003. “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3.” American
Educator 27 (1): 4–9.
30 million word gap by the age of 3
Research into vocabulary learning suggests that young people absorb
new words incrementally through multiple exposures to the word in
slightly different contexts over time. This is a gradual process that
cannot happen in an hour.
See E. D. Hirsch, Why Knowledge Matters: Rescuing Our Children from Failed Educational Theories (Cambridge,
MA: Harvard Education Press, 2016), pp. 99–100.
“Words are tags or labels for our packets of knowledge.”
- Robert Marzano
Image: Jason Ramasami
Explicit approaches to vocabulary teaching
1. Create word
lists for every
scheme of work.
2. Teach words in context but make reference to
e.g. impulsive in relation to Romeo’s behaviour
And: If you worked for an entire year to save
money for a car and then suddenly decided to
spend it all on an outfit instead, that would be an
3. Give student-friendly explanations and examples,
egregious - conspicuously and outrageously bad or reprehensible
egregious - Something that is egregious stands out, but not in a good way — it means
"really bad or offensive." If you make an egregious error during a football match, your
manager might substitute you for the rest of the game.
4. Provide multiple exposures to the word.
• Images Image: Jason Ramasami
Close the word gap by …
1. Creating word lists for every scheme of work.
2. Teaching words in context but making reference to other contexts.
3. Giving student-friendly explanations and examples, not definitions.
4. Providing multiple exposures to the word