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Teaching vocabulary explicitly

Unit 5


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It can be easy for children to misunderstand the meaning or nuances of words, which is why explicit vocabulary instruction can be so important. In this session, course creator Shareen Wilkinson talks about how to unpick the different meanings and connotations of the English language. A better understanding of vocabulary supports comprehension, and we look at a selection of the words children will have needed to comprehend in order to answer questions across the last three years of reading SATs tests. For example, on occasion pupils have needed to know a range of idioms, such as ‘left to his own devices’ and a good strategy for teaching this can be to examine idioms in pop songs. An overview of different teaching strategies outlines activities such as focusing on tier 2 vocabulary and the Frayer model, with latter developing knowledge of words through definitions, characteristics, examples and non-examples. Shareen also shares her RESCUE method for helping children to understand new words at a deeper level. It’s possible for children to work out the meaning of a word from its context, and we’re introduced to a success criteria for how they might achieve this. Finally we see some examples of this in practice, using Jabberwocky and The Greatest, by Sia.

Course Materials:

Presentation Slides - Download

.pptx file

Training Handout - Download

.pdf file

Course Creator

Image of Shareen Wilkinson

Shareen Wilkinson

An experienced primary school teacher and senior leader, Shareen currently runs a successful education consultancy in London. Working with LAs across the country, she has an extensive track record of raising standards in English. Writing and advising for Letts, HarperCollins, Rising Stars and OUP, Shareen also acts as a subject expert on reading and grammar for the DfE.

About the Course

These sessions focus on deepening and developing subject knowledge in primary English. Key areas (e.g. grammar, writing and spelling) are explored in depth, so that teachers can feel confident when delivering them in the classroom, and there are plenty of practical ideas to try too.

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