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Unlocking inference - teaching vocabulary

Unit 4


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In this session, we look at how to broaden children’s vocabulary by carefully choosing which words to explore with the class ahead of the lesson. We see a set of words being taught to children and the techniques used to increase their understanding of these - starting with a definition of ‘peering’. Children are asked to mime the word (a strategy that is often used with verbs and adverbs) to help them visualise its meaning, after which the word is put into different contexts - some in which is should appear and some in which it shouldn’t. Children’s understanding is developed by first putting the vocabulary into contexts where it is clear whether or not it is appropriate. From here, the examples become less definitive and so children’s understanding of the word, and how if may work in quite different situations, is refined. The goal is to get pupils to use the word in their own sentences, to own the word, so they are able to fully master its meaning (and where children’s use is not quite right, gently redirecting them). All of which is begins with reading high-quality texts that present vocabulary that children might not be able to access on their own.

Course Creator

Image of Christine Chen and Lindsay Pickton

Christine Chen and Lindsay Pickton

Christine and Lindsay are experienced English specialists based in Kingston upon Thames. They support numerous primary schools, alliances and federations. Both have worked in schools as senior literacy teachers and helped to launch and run school improvement programmes across their borough, and written for publishers including OUP, Pearson and Collins.

About the Course

This series of live lessons show a tried and tested approach to whole-class reading in action. We see how choral reading can improve fluency and comprehension for all pupils and how this leads to a close reading of the text and an exploration of vocabulary that unlocks inference for the class. It’s a process that gives children the skills they need to tackle comprehension questions at a higher level.

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