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13 of the best vocabulary teaching ideas for KS1/2 English

A broad vocabulary won't just help children in reading and writing, it can set them up for success in all aspects of life, and this collection of expert advice can give your students the boost they need...

  • 13 of the best vocabulary teaching ideas for KS1/2 English

1 | Ten ways to close the word gap

Oxford University Press recently surveyed over 1,300 primary and secondary school teachers to answer questions about the proportion of children affected by the ‘word gap’, its root causes and the perceived impact.

The responses and first-hand experiences of these teachers formed The Oxford Language Report: Why Closing the Word Gap Matters.

One of the questions in the report looked to find out what successful strategies schools have put in place to close the word gap, and this feature lists 10 of the suggestions from the teachers surveyed and the experts consulted.

Check out the full list here.

2 | Introduce all children to formal language early to unlock long-term success

This piece from Alex Quigley explains how teachers can help crack “the academic code” but giving students the tools to switch between everyday talk and the academic style found in education, particularly in secondary where they’ll come across multiple subjects every day.

Alex offers five support strategies including encouraging children to talk like scientists, digging at root words and developing debate, and explains how to use them to boost all children’s vocabularies.

Read this feature here.

3 | A growing vocabulary is the key to unshackling children’s minds

“The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein.

This piece from Nick Hart works on this very basis, explaining why a wide vocabulary is essential for children, before offering a number of practical pieces of advice on how to teach vocabulary so that it sticks.

Read this feature here.

4 | Broadening a child’s vocabulary won’t just help them pass a test, it will also enrich their life

How do we cram the maximum amount of language into children in a minimal amount of time? That’s the question posed by Jane Andrews here, before, of course, offering some solutions for you to try.

Read this feature here.

5 | How to improve vocabulary in KS2 for SATs

Even though, as Jane Andrews pointed out in the previous article, there’s more to vocabulary than just passing a test, children will almost definitely still need to sit their SATs.

So, here, Alex Quigley runs through some of the vocabulary problems that have occurred in recent years’ exams, and outlines how you might be able to help your children avoid similar hurdles this year.

Read this feature here.

6 | Make sure you know which words to teach when improving comprehension

With 70 per cent of English words having multiple meanings, it pays to dig deeper into definitions when boosting children’s reading comprehension, says Nikki Gamble.

So here she runs through ways you can be sure of which words to teach, when, and why.

Read this feature here.

7 | Use word power to close the word gap between primary students

Research shows that the gap between children’s language skills is widening, but how do teachers translate this into everyday, classroom practice? Kelly Ashley has some ideas.

Read this feature here.

8 | Make vocabulary learning stick through wordplay

“Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas.” In this piece Rachel Clarke uses helps you show your children how palindromes, puns and other forms of wordplay can help them build up their vocabulary, as well as providing some games and activities for you to try.

Read this feature here.

9 | Improve description, punctuation and expression with these practical lesson ideas

Are your pupils’ English skills in need of a boost? Help them describe, express, punctuate and more with these creative activities from Jonathan Glazzard.

Read this feature here.

10 | Read aloud with James and the Giant Peach

Revisit this children’s classic with this new set of ideas and activities from Martin Galway that revel in the peculiar wonder of Dahl’s language.

There are plenty of fun ideas in this one, which you can check out here.

11 | Avoiding teaching poetry because it’s too hard or boring, denies children a vital means of expressing themselves

We should expect that our children can let us know when they feel swallowed up by sadness or ready to pop with joy, says poet Joseph Coelho.

Here, he explains how words are expression that enable us to translate a jumble of feelings, emotions and experiences into a form that can be appreciated by others, and helps you let your children do just that with a variety of activities.

Read this feature here.

12 | How comics boost reading comprehension

If children are word-reading but not understanding, graphic texts will help make them masters of meaning and inference, say Christine Chen and Lindsay Pickton.

Here, they run through five things children can do reading graphic novels that can boost these skills.

Read this feature here.

13 | Is it time to think of speech rhythm as another element in a balanced reading curriculum?

In this article Professor Clare Wood looks to see how much value there is in training speech rhythm in young children, given that research shows that children with reading difficulties show impaired sensitivity to speech rhythm.

This supports the idea that there is a link between speech rhythm sensitivity and progress in reading, which could help some children in your class.

Read this feature here.

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