Chapter 1 starts by reflecting on the roles of vocabulary in people’s lives, highlighting that a large and rich vocabulary is not only the hallmark of an educated individual, but also facilitates one in becoming an educated person. The tight link between vocabulary and reading comprehension is also emphasised. Beck et al then go on to outline the stark differences in vocabulary knowledge among learners from different ability or socioeconomic groups – differences which, once established, remain from early years into adult life – as a clear rationale for the need for vocabulary instruction in schools. They comment that much vocabulary teaching in schools tends to comprise dictionary definitions and short exercises such as cloze passages or matching words with definitions and synonyms, whereas they are advocating robust vocabulary instruction which “involves directly explaining the meanings of words along with thought-provoking, playful and interactive follow-up”. The approach can be used with all children and young people, from the earliest years upwards.