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Practical ways to bridge the
word gap
Andy Tharby
Durrington High School
“The limits of my language means the limits of
my world.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Student 1 Student 2
Any difference?
Student 1
(word poor)
Student 2
(word rich)
Imprisonment vs freedom
Hart, B., & T.R. Risley. 2003. “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3.” American
Educator 27 (1): 4–9.
3...
Research into vocabulary learning suggests that young people absorb
new words incrementally through multiple exposures to ...
“Words are tags or labels for our packets of knowledge.”
- Robert Marzano
Image: Jason Ramasami
What can we do to bridge the word gap?
Explicit approaches to vocabulary teaching
1. Create word
lists for every
scheme of work.
2. Teach words in context but make reference to
other contexts.
e.g. impulsive in relation to Romeo’s behaviour
And: If yo...
3. Give student-friendly explanations and examples,
not definitions.
Definition:
egregious - conspicuously and outrageousl...
4. Provide multiple exposures to the word.
• Writing
• Discussion
• Homework
• Quizzes
• Images Image: Jason Ramasami
Close the word gap by …
1. Creating word lists for every scheme of work.
2. Teaching words in context but making reference...
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  1. 1. Practical ways to bridge the word gap Andy Tharby Durrington High School
  2. 2. “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” Ludwig Wittgenstein
  3. 3. Student 1 Student 2 Any difference?
  4. 4. Student 1 (word poor) Student 2 (word rich) Imprisonment vs freedom
  5. 5. Hart, B., & T.R. Risley. 2003. “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3.” American Educator 27 (1): 4–9. 30 million word gap by the age of 3
  6. 6. Research into vocabulary learning suggests that young people absorb new words incrementally through multiple exposures to the word in slightly different contexts over time. This is a gradual process that cannot happen in an hour. See E. D. Hirsch, Why Knowledge Matters: Rescuing Our Children from Failed Educational Theories (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, 2016), pp. 99–100.
  7. 7. “Words are tags or labels for our packets of knowledge.” - Robert Marzano Image: Jason Ramasami
  8. 8. What can we do to bridge the word gap?
  9. 9. Explicit approaches to vocabulary teaching 1. Create word lists for every scheme of work.
  10. 10. 2. Teach words in context but make reference to other contexts. e.g. impulsive in relation to Romeo’s behaviour And: If you worked for an entire year to save money for a car and then suddenly decided to spend it all on an outfit instead, that would be an impulsive purchase.
  11. 11. 3. Give student-friendly explanations and examples, not definitions. Definition: egregious - conspicuously and outrageously bad or reprehensible Explanation: egregious - Something that is egregious stands out, but not in a good way — it means "really bad or offensive." If you make an egregious error during a football match, your manager might substitute you for the rest of the game. www.vocabulary.com
  12. 12. 4. Provide multiple exposures to the word. • Writing • Discussion • Homework • Quizzes • Images Image: Jason Ramasami
  13. 13. Close the word gap by … 1. Creating word lists for every scheme of work. 2. Teaching words in context but making reference to other contexts. 3. Giving student-friendly explanations and examples, not definitions. 4. Providing multiple exposures to the word

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