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10 Creative Ways to Teach Vocabulary

“Vocabulary knowledge is knowledge; the knowledge of a word not only implies a definition, but also implies how that word fits into the world.” Steven Stahl (2005) Developing vocabulary knowledge is so much more than word lists and student-friendly definitions. Even the most careful curation of vocabulary on a knowledge organiser may only give the …

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The Problem with Teaching Sophisticated Vocabulary

Should the title be ‘sophisticated vocabulary’, or could it be more simply ‘fancy words’? Small but significant language choices like these occur repeatedly in classrooms – and in pupils’ minds – daily. Teaching pupils to use sophisticated vocabulary can go wrong but it is a necessary bump in the road of pupils’ language development. We …

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Is teaching writing the ‘Neglected R’?

If you can write well, you can succeed in school. But the impact of being unable to write with confidence can be crippling, in the classroom, as well as far beyond the school gates. The recent White Paper on ‘levelling up’ education by the government, predictably attempts to address writing and the age-old ‘3Rs’. By …

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Leading Literacy… And Purposeful Professional Development

This short blog series is targeted at literacy leaders – either Literacy Coordinators, Reading Leads, or Curriculum Deputies – with a key role in leading literacy to ensure that pupils access the curriculum and succeed in meeting the academic demands of school.  Picture the scene: it is the first school day of the new year …

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Leading Literacy… And Influencing Teachers

This short series is targeted at literacy leaders – either Literacy Coordinators, Reading Leads, or Curriculum Deputies – with a key role in leading literacy to ensure that pupils access the curriculum and succeed in meeting the academic demands of school.  Every school policy should be seen through the eyes of a recently qualified teacher …

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Leading Literacy… And Perennial Problems

This short series is targeted at literacy leaders – either Literacy Coordinators, Reading Leads, or Curriculum Deputies etc. – with a key role in leading literacy to ensure that pupils access the curriculum and succeed in meeting the academic demands of school.  The old African proverb goes that it takes a village to raise a …

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5 Micro-moves for Academic Talk

It is time to talk… about the importance of academic talk. Since the beginning of the year, I have worked with lots of school leaders, with discussions quickly turning to the impact and experience of the pandemic, then onto reflections about future plans.   A regular refrain is the limiting experience of lockdown on academic talk. …

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