Why Vocabulary Building with your Child is so Important!

Building your child’s vocabulary is a vital pre-reading skill. This is because schools teach what is referred to as the ‘The Simple View of Reading’:

Reading Comprehension = Decoding (Phonics) x Linguistic (Spoken Language) Comprehension  

This means that a child decodes the words using their phonics skills and their own vocabulary knowledge to help them understand the text they are reading.

So, for a child to have good reading skills they need to be able to speedily decode unknown words and recognise familiar printed words. And, understand the meaning and grammatical structure of the spoken language and then use this knowledge to understand the printed text.

This means that a child:

  • Who does not fully understand the meaning of all the words and/or the grammatical structure of the spoken language (age appropriate) will also be unable to fully understand the printed text; even if they decoded it correctly.
  • Whose ability to understand the spoken word is poor will also be unable to understand the printed text; even if they have managed to decode a few words.

Helping your child build their vocabulary is also vital, if they are to continue to develop good communication skills. Talking, explaining, sharing and playing are all important in developing your child’s vocabulary, their understanding of the words meaning in the context of the conversation and the grammatical conventions of our spoken language.

Pancake Making – Word Play

Pancake Day (Tuesday 21st February 2023) will soon be upon on us, and a great time to share some cooking time with your child.

It is amazing the number of different noises that occur when we cook, providing an ideal opportunity to use and introduce your child to the wonderfully descriptive world of onomatopoeic words. These are words that imitate the sounds being described such as bang, crash, whoosh, clip and clop.

So, we have created a list of onomatopoeic words which you could use and share with your child as you describe the sounds, potential chaos and fun that comes from shared cooking time with your child.

Bang, crash, rattle, clang, clank, clatter, clink, plop, slap, crack, splish, splash, splosh, hiss, sizzle, fizzle, crackle, squeal, giggle, smack, splat, gobble, scrap.

A Traditional English Pancake Batter Mix

For a thin pancake batter mix:

  • 100g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 270ml of milk or milk and water


  1. Sift the flour and salt together.
  2. Make a well in the flour and add the egg and enough milk (milk/water) to make a sticky mixture.
  3. Beat well, then gradually whisk in the remaining milk (milk/water).
  4. Keep in a cool place until ready to use, always whisk the batter before using.

An American Style Pancake Batter Mix

For a thick, sweet pancake batter mix:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tea spoon baking powder
  • 3 pinches of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml of milk
  • 30g caster sugar


  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  2. Stir in the caster sugar
  3. In another bowl, whisk the egg and milk together.
  4. Pour the egg and milk mixture into the flour and beat with a wooden spoon.
  5. If the mixture is left to stand for about half an hour the pancakes tend to have a lighter texture.

Have fun and enjoy!

Why Placement (Preposition) and Directional Vocabulary is Important!

Teaching your child the vocabulary related to placement (preposition) and direction is import in supporting them to understand and follow instructions, as well as sharing information themselves, such as; ‘put your cup on the table’ or to say ‘teddy in car’.

We also use this placement (preposition) and directional language to explain how to draw shapes, patterns and write letters and numbers. We have created three sets of picture cards and games to help you support your child in developing and using positional (preposition) and directional vocabulary

You can find these free resources on our Phonics website by following this link: https://www.teachphonics.co.uk/phonics-resources.html

What are prepositions?

A word used with a noun or pronoun to show place, position, time or means, e.g. at home, in the hall, on Sunday, by train.” Definition from Oxford School Dictionary, third edition 2002.

Here are just some preposition and directional phrases you might like to use:

On the … On top of the … Above the … Over the…

Under the… Below the … Beneath … Underneath …

Behind the …

In front of the…

Next to …Beside the … On the right of … To the right of … On the right-hand side … On the left of … To the left of … On the left-hand side… Before the … After the …

In the…  Inside the …

Out of the … Outside of the …

Between the … In between the … In the middle … In the center …

Going up the ….  Going down the … Going towards the… Going away from …