Closing The Vocabulary Gap

Three Pillars of Vocabulary Teaching

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that vocabulary knowledge is crucial for pupils’ school success. Pupils are language sponges, learning thousands of words each year. Like increases in a child’s height, it is a slow but inexorable development. On a daily basis it is near-imperceptible, but when you begin to count the passing of school …

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The ‘Language Leap’ at Transition

The importance of tending to pupils at the transition between primary and secondary school is well-established. The obvious focus, understandably, attends to the pastoral needs of pupils: making them feel safe and secure in their new ‘big school’ surroundings. Crucially, there is also an increasing recognition that making curriculum connections and charting the ‘language leap’ …

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Flipping Fronted Adverbials

Do you know your fronted adverbials from your prepositional phrases? As another week of home schooling commences, many parents, and teachers, are faced with tricky questions about grammar. It inspires feisty debate on social media and in school staffrooms. From world-renowned authors, PHD possessing parent-writers, to national leaders, everyone has an opinion on ‘fronted adverbials’. …

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Five Things I Wish I’d Known About Literacy

When I started teaching nearly two decades ago, I was a teacher of reading, writing, vocabulary, academic talk, and more. The problem was that I could do reading and writing, but I had little idea how to systematically teach the development of these vital skills.  Yes – I could model some writing and offer some …

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Academic Vocabulary and Schema Building

Every teacher recognises the vital role of academic vocabulary to access the school curriculum and go onto succeed. Put simply, the more words you know, the further you’ll go. Words are crucial tools to crow-bar open the curriculum for every pupil and they provide the means for self-expression and prove vital to exam success. What …

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Covid-19 and the Literacy ‘Matthew Effect’

“For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Matthew, 25:29 Six months ago everything changed. Covid-19 crashed into our consciousness and schools were closed for all but a few pupils. Ever since, school teachers …

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