Using stories to extend children’s vocabulary

Curriculum

Ofsted

10th December 2021

Using stories to extend children’s vocabulary

The DfE published the Reading Framework in July 2021 to provide guidance on the teaching of early reading. In this article, Gill Quantrell explores the role stories play in developing children’s language comprehension and how Cornerstones’ new early years projects promote a love of reading and support children to develop a broad and rich vocabulary.

Using stories to extend children’s vocabulary

The Reading Framework

The advice published in the Reading Framework links closely to the Education Inspection Framework and sets reading at the heart of the curriculum. Each Ofsted inspection will feature a deep dive into reading to ensure the school places a high focus on early literacy skills and has a robust phonics programme. And whilst phonics will give children the skills to decode words, they also need to develop language comprehension skills to become successful and motivated readers. The Reading Framework suggests that when children first start to read, the words they can decode are

‘too limited to broaden their vocabulary’.

Therefore, introducing rich vocabulary plays a crucial role when developing children who love reading and want to read for pleasure.

Making story time a priority

In the early years, it is essential to prioritise story time to promote a love of reading and provide opportunities for children to broaden their vocabulary.

Selecting quality stories to share with the children throughout the year can help expand their vocabulary and introduce new words. Stories should have a strong narrative and either allow children to identify and connect with the characters or help them to understand the lives, experiences, and perspectives of others.

Children love to listen to stories multiple times. This helps them to relive their response to the story, whether that is the anticipation of a scary or funny event or joy when the story ends happily. The repeated sharing of books helps children to understand story structures and learn more complex vocabulary in context. Multiple readings improve engagement with books, by retelling stories and joining in with repeated refrains. The Reading Framework sets out further advice for story times and gives practitioners guidance on making story time purposeful.

Using Cornerstones early years projects to develop reading

Cornerstones new EYFS projects are based around quality stories and promote reading, engagement and vocabulary growth. Every stage of the project introduces the children to a new story and provides activities to bring the stories to life. There is practitioner guidance to help develop children’s comprehension and introduce tier 2 vocabulary in context. Alongside each activity, the linked enhanced provision provides opportunities for the children to act out stories through role-play and small world activities.

Coming soon

In the summer term, we’ll be adding ‘Story Packs’ to the projects to support practitioners further to prioritise reading. Each Story Pack will provide a step-by-step guide to help introduce quality stories, pick out tier 2 vocabulary, develop children’s language comprehension and provide opportunities for children to join in and act in roles during story times.

Useful stuff

For further support with early reading and developing children’s language and communication. Read our blog The Importance of Early Reading.

If you would like to discover more about the Cornerstones EYFS Curriculum then please book a demo today.

  • Expert advice
  • Tailored to you
  • At a time to suit you

Our mission is to help you deliver the best possible curriculum for your children.

Book a demo
Request A demo with our staff
Reviews Book a Demo Reviews
10/12/2021

We are in a much better place with CM than with our old curriculum. We will be making it more bespoke in the second year.

Conrad Fox – Headteacher, Hunmanby Primary School, England

16/11/2021

I have used Cornerstones from its first launch. The product has been refined over time as it is driven by feedback from schools and teachers delivering the content. The company is also responsive to a school's needs.

Lindsey Wain – Deputy headteacher, Hartburn Primary School, England

04/11/2021

Maestro is a real time saver, particularly for leadership teams and subject leaders. There is a wealth of information and resources which can be used and adapted by creative skills teachers. The way the curriculum is mapped is excellent and was commented on in a very recent Ofsted inspection.

Charlotte Gibbins – Thurlstone Primary School, England

17/09/2021

I have recommended and told many other schools and school staff about it. I would always though suggest that they need to ensure it is right for their school setting and the needs of their staff and pupils.

Kathryn – Teacher, Langton Primary School

20/01/2021

It has been a revelation. Staff are finding their way through it and if we have any questions, the support from Cornerstones is amazing. We always get answers to our questions. It is now our one-stop-shop for curriculum with linked up thinking and approach through an intuitive and user-friendly system.

Moira Cross – Executive head, Dordon Primary School