This study was set up to investigate vocabulary development in a population of urban Indian socio-economically impoverished pre-schoolers. Since research has shown that a correlation exists with vocabulary and reading skills, hence better vocabulary would be indicative of fewer reading related problems. The introduction of an oracy programme in a nursery was evaluated and the results compared with those from a similar nursery not exposed to the programme. There was a significant difference in the growth of receptive vocabulary for the experimental group relative to the comparison group but no improvement in the expressive lexicon of either group. Results shed light on vocabulary development and its implications on later literacy progress, as well as changes to nursery practice in India.