Verbivore’s Vocab Vault

Verbivore's Vocab Vault


– click the images to be taken to the planning –



City Words

mountain cover

Mountain Words


Countryside Words [coming soon]


House Words [coming soon]


Jungle Words [coming soon]


Night Words [coming soon]


Village Words [coming soon]


Water Words [coming soon]


startled 1

Surprised Words


Sad words


Angry Words [coming soon]

trying hard

Trying Hard Words [coming soon]

stressed or scared

Stressed and Scared Words [coming soon]


Hopeful Words [coming soon]


Happy Words [coming soon]

feeling bad

Feeling Bad Words [coming soon]


stormy words

Stormy Words

calm and pleasant

Calm and Pleasant Words [coming soon]


Cloudy Words [coming soon]


Cold Words [coming soon]

dark and rainy

Dark and Rainy Words [coming soon]


Hot Words [coming soon]

more hot

More Hot Words [coming soon]


Wind Words [coming soon]



Eye Words [coming soon]


Beautiful Words [coming soon]

big and fat

Big or Fat Words [coming soon]

Macro of green caterpillar on thin stick

Small or Thin Words [coming soon]


Confident Words [coming soon]

shy or uncertain

Shy or Uncertain Words [coming soon]

clever or sly

Clever or Sly Words [coming soon]

clumsy or silly

Clumsy or Silly Words [coming soon]

Taste and Smell


Flavour Words [coming soon]


Smell Words [coming soon]

more smell

More Smell Words [coming soon]


Delicious Words [coming soon]


Disgusting Words [coming soon]


Eating Words [coming soon]

hungry and thirsty

Hungry or Thirsty Words [coming soon]


Meal Words [coming soon]



Wet Words [coming soon]

fight or battle

Fight or Battle Words [coming soon]

looking or seeing

Looking or Seeing Words [coming soon]

chaos or confusion

Chaos and Confusion Words [coming soon]

lazy or relaxing

Lazy or Relaxing Words [coming soon]

hard working

Hard-working Words [coming soon]


Running Words [coming soon]


Walking Words [coming soon]


Let’s just get them learning words.


Yes, it’s 00:09 at the time of writing this post. I’m sitting downstairs; shivering in my ‘pyjamas’ – which isn’t much, let me tell you.

Let’s just get them learning words.

All my resources will now be free for the foreseeable future. I just want kids learning words.

Teachers assemble.

Let’s. Teach. Words.

Follow this: @VerbivoreTeach

Spread it. Spread it far and wide.

We’re on a mission, folks.

Words are the key to everything.

Let’s go.

Mountain Words

Verbivore's Vocab Vault


barren – crevasse – precipitous – rugged – steep

mountain cover

Planning by Verbivore – mountain words

Planning by Verbivore PPT – mountain words

MOUNTAINS Fridge Words

Please reach out to me when you’ve used the plans and resources with your class as I’d love to collect a bank of excellent children’s vocabulary learning.

Review: Closing the Vocabulary Gap


Vocab Gap

I still remember Alex Quigley posing to Twitter the choice of two front covers for this book. After waiting a long time for the book to be released, I jumped at the chance to read it a little bit earlier through downloading the eBook to my Kindle (forgive me father, for I have sinned). Initially, I raced through the book in just two days. However, since then, I’ve read the book again at a much slower pace.

If you take, or want to take, vocabulary seriously, you must buy this book. It’s a steal on Amazon right now: BUY IT HERE. I forbid you to read any more of this review until you’ve bought it.

With this book, Alex has skilfully laid the foundations for all teachers to begin teaching vocabulary, and give it the priority that it deserves. Quigley guides the reader through the range of issues currently surrounding vocabulary, and actively promotes teaching vocabulary directly and explicitly. The crux, for me, of this book is that ‘reading for pleasure’ alone will not be enough to close the gap; words must be taught alongside. This is not to say that Alex plays down the importance of it. In fact, on numerous occasions, he makes it abundantly clear that that is not what he’s advocating.

^^ I don’t want to give too much away, but some interesting reading on James Coady’s ‘Beginner’s Paradox’ can be found here.

Finally on this point, Alex perfectly sums it up with this:

Teaching vocabulary and reading for pleasure should mutually reinforce one another.

The book then moves on to talking in detail about the ‘academic code’. Alex identifies that a ‘structured approach to wider reading, alongside a focus on oracy, with both being wedded to direct instruction of academic vocabulary’ will enable us to start getting nearer to a solution. Quigley calls upon an anecdote where he spends a day following a GCSE student around school (not as sinister as it sounds upon reading). Alex is floored by the sheer amount of different lexicons that the student must process, understand, and apply throughout just a single day at school. Alex puts this down to the student having a solid ‘word consciousness’, which helps every student ‘make the unfamiliar academic vocabulary of school accessible’.

… we must give our students the necessary tools to develop their vocabulary independently.

The book concludes with a host of practical strategies for teachers to begin teaching vocabulary, with inspiration being drawn from a staple book in vocabulary: Bringing Words to Life.

Alex, thank you for this book.

Sad Words

Verbivore's Vocab Vault


desolate – glum – heartbroken –  inconsolable – melancholy


Planning by Verbivore – sad words

Planning by Verbivore PPT – sad words

SAD Fridge Words

Please reach out to me when you’ve used the plans and resources with your class as I’d love to collect a bank of excellent children’s vocabulary learning.

Stormy Words

Verbivore's Vocab Vault

deluge – electrifying – incessant – tempestuous – torrential

stormy words

Planning by Verbivore – stormy words

Planning by Verbivore PPT – storms words

STORMY Fridge Words

Please reach out to me when you’ve used the plans and resources with your class as I’d love to collect a bank of excellent children’s vocabulary learning.


Surprised Words

Verbivore's Vocab Vault


alarmed – astonishing – flabbergasted –  speechless – startled

startled 1



SURPRISED Fridge Words

Please reach out to me when you’ve used the plans and resources with your class as I’d love to collect a bank of excellent children’s vocabulary learning.

City Words

Verbivore's Vocab Vault


affluent – bustling – diverse – hectic – polluted


Planning by Verbivore – city words.doc

Planning by Verbivore – city words.ppt

CITY Fridge Words.doc

Please reach out to me when you’ve used the plans and resources with your class as I’d love to collect a bank of excellent children’s vocabulary learning.

Daily Vocabulary Planning [OVERVIEW]

Teaching and Learning

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 12.58.04

I am not an expert in vocabulary, nor do I profess to be. The plans I will release will be curated using the knowledge that I have on direct vocabulary instruction mixed with other pedagogy. I will provide the best that I possibly can – that is a promise. 

It is important to note that every technique/activity/idea that I include within the plans has been tried and tested in my own classroom with Y4 children. Some work better than others, which is cool because there are no silver bullets with vocabulary teaching. The only things close to a silver bullet are encouraging wide reading for pleasure, and actively teaching words.

My plans are a starting point. They should not be considered as the Holy Grail of explicit vocabulary instruction. It is me trying to help other teachers to get started with teaching words by providing planning. Whilst I hope you find them really useful and most of all your kids love them, I would appreciate feedback wherever possible. I am not easily offended, and will take anything and everything on board.

My influences to date are:

The first plans – which will be a week’s worth and released weekly – are to be released on the evening of Sunday 8th April 2018.

Thank you!

Guns, drugs, and illicit vocabulary.


Title inspired by Clare Sealy (@ClareSealy). Blog inspired by Philip Pullman via Tim Roach (@MrTRoach).

Primary Rocks talk 18

Yesterday, it was an honour to lead a session at Primary Rocks Live ’18 (The Presentation). Thank you to everyone who came to watch it.

This blog is a war cry. It is unlikely to be succinct or cohesive, but it is guaranteed to be borne from a coiled spring of passion itching to be unwound.

You’re in a classroom with thirty children in front of you. The attitude and learning behaviour of those children is irrelevant at this moment, so shelve the ‘But my kids won’t do that’ excuse. They are still children. Children who are going to eventually leave your class, progress to the next phase of their education, and ultimately leave education to join the workforce in whatever capacity. You, in this moment, have the power. The power to empower. With words.

Words are humanity’s most valuable tool. They are our daily currency; irrespective of mother tongue, idiolect, sociolect, dialect or accent. They convey our thoughts, emotions, and provide a vessel to describe actions. A word can change the world. And if the words you say can’t / won’t change the world, then make absolutely sure that they change your children’s worlds.

You prepare and cook the ‘food’ in your classroom. You control the learning diet. This diet, much like the one our bodies require to function at a high level, must be rich and varied. And vocabulary is the foundation for a good one.

You control the learning diet.

Control: the power to direct or influence people’s behaviour, or the course of events.

Specifically, this means that you do not bombard children with fruity language. Not least without explicit instruction of what those words actually mean, and how they can be used. The whole reason that you provide a rich, varied diet of words is to empower your children to go deeper, to look beneath the surface. To choose. To select *that* word which fits the sentence they’re writing, or *that* word which perfectly encapsulates what they’re trying to say, or *that* word which describes exactly how they’re feeling in a way that just makes them feel instantly better.

Start teaching individual words. Explicitly explain the links the new word has with other words they know. Create a buzz around words. The only person that can do that is you.


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