Why teach vocabulary?

Bedrock Vocabulary draws from extensive research that explores why we should all be teaching vocabulary and what best practice in this crucial area of pedagogy looks like.

The Millennium Cohort Study concluded that by the age of 5 years old children from low-income families are a year behind their peers in terms of vocabulary knowledge. Furthermore, an overwhelming amount of research suggests the gap only widens with time. Within The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children, E.D. Hirsch (2006: 12) supports Stanovich’s (1986) argument: “[i]n vocabulary acquisition, a small early advantage grows into a much bigger one unless we intervene very intelligently to help the disadvantaged student learn words at an accelerated rate.”

As the lexically advantaged draw on their more robust word bank, they grow in confidence, engage in their learning, remain motivated, and crucially identify themselves as readers. Whilst the lexically disadvantaged are at risk of the reverse adverse effects; with fewer words to draw on, their confidence depletes, they become disengaged and demotivated, and ultimately struggle to identify themselves as readers.

As Biemiller (2003: 324) aptly puts it, “If we are serious about increasing standards and bringing a greater proportion of school children to high levels of academic accomplishments, we cannot leave vocabulary development to parents, chance and highly motivated reading.”

Does Bedrock help?

Our programme has a large impact on vocabulary learning. Our frequent and varied style of teaching ensures that thousands of students, from a variety of backgrounds, can learn the kind of language that is essential to their academic achievement. Bedrock students make reliable, statistically significant progress.

Who progresses on Bedrock?

the bedrock pre and post test results

  • A statistically significant increase is observed between pre and post-test results across all categories.
  • All categories have Effect Sizes (ES) greater than 0.8.  This means the impact of Bedrock Vocabulary is considered ‘Large’ across all groups.
  • Primary school and SEN students showed the largest increases with 23.18% and 23.17% respectively, however increases of around 20% were seen across all groups.

How many students make progress on Bedrock?

how many students make progress on bedrock

>95% of students across all groups show an improvement after completing 5 Bedrock topics.

  • This improvement increases for students completing 10 blocks.
  • Less than 5% of students showed no improvement after 5 blocks.  These are the small number of students who get full marks on pre and post-tests, and those who score the same on both tests.

Wider evidence of Bedrock’s impact

Our data analysis found that Bedrock Vocabulary had a positive impact on student learning. An important part of our evaluation procedure however is student and teacher feedback.

“Students now frequently break down new language for themselves, exploring roots, prefixes, synonyms and antonyms of new vocabulary. Through the use of Bedrock Vocabulary, students have therefore not just learnt the words on the website, they have acquired new independent learning processes as well.”
– English Teacher, Vietnam

“We have been using the system with a group of Year 8 pupils who are of lower ability. Their approach to language in the classroom has shifted significantly. They are able to identify roots in texts and are much more confident at pulling language apart.”
– English Teacher, South London

“Students have reported greater confidence in reading complex texts and greater clarity in their understanding.”
– English Teacher, Hong Kong

“Bedrock Vocabulary helped to enhance our students’ knowledge of the English language, how it works and how it is developed.”
– Head of English, Beckenham, Kent.

How Bedrock can help

Speak with one of our curriculum consultants to learn more about how Bedrock can help you or request a free demo.

British Educational Suppliers Association - BESA
Educate - Education Research Edtech
EdWard for Bedrock Learning
Bett Awards 2019 - Finalist
ERA Awards 2021 - Finalist