Tips for teaching and consolidating vocabulary

  • Use the target words as part of your day to day interactions, as this will provide more repetitions and allow for extension to new situations.
  • Use the word in different contexts particularly for children who have reduced understanding.
  • Occasionally use a probing question (e.g. Which picture is ___? What’s this called? Can you use ____ in a sentence?). Limit yourself to one probe each time the book is read.
  • Ask choice questions around target words (e.g. What’s strange? A dog that barks or a dog that quacks?)
  • Use a different verb tense once your child can use the one you are teaching (e.g. raid, raiding, raided).
  • Add gestures to the words where appropriate.
  • Provide explicit links between new words and words that your child already knows. For example, if “barn” is a new word, then talk about what animals might live in a barn, where you may find a barn and point out any pictures of barns you come across.
  • Place the Vertim picture cards in a prominent place such as the fridge at home as reminders to use them in everyday talking.
  • Talk about words that have multiple meanings e.g. ‘block’ can be something we can build a tower with, or to get in the way of something.

Tips for choosing additional words

You may also wish to teach and target words from the pictures themselves or concepts underlying the story. For example, in the book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen, where the family wades through water on the page “Splash splosh! Splash splosh! Splash splosh!”, the word “soaked” could be targeted.

As much as possible, always include at least 2 verbs (action words) to teach your child. The more specific verbs a child has, the better their sentences tend to be.

Tips for picking the right books for your child(ren)

  • Find stories that are of interest to your child e.g. If your child likes animals, choose stories that have animal characters in them.
  • Try to choose books that are appropriate in length for your child’s attention span. For example, if your child has a reduced attention span for books, a long story may not be enjoyable.
  • Choose books which have illustrations that are engaging.
  • Let your child choose too!

Tips for printing and making the resources

It is best to print the resources in colour as this will markedly increase a child’s interest. If you would like the cards to be more durable, you may wish to print on thicker paper such as 110gsm, or to laminate them. Ensuring your printer option is set to “actual size” or “100%” will allow each card to be fairly equal in size.

Double sided printing

    1. Print the picture cards (pages 3-4, or 3-6) double sided (“flip on long side”).
    2. Cut along the dotted lines.

Single sided printing

    1. Print the picture cards (pages 3-4, or 3-6) on separate pieces of paper.
    2. Glue pages 3 and 4 (and pages 5 and 6 if applicable) back to back.
    3. Cut along the dotted lines.