Dive into the rich world of vocabulary with my blog series. Explore the art of explicit vocabulary teaching, the deep relationship between vocabulary and reading, along with the fascinating realms of etymology and morphology. Discover innovative strategies to cultivate 'word consciousness' and ignite excitement about language. Whether you're a teacher, leader, or avid reader, my curated content offers a treasure trove of insights and practical tips to enrich your vocabulary journey.

Academic Language and the Phrases that Matter Post feature image

Academic Language and the Phrases that Matter

Teachers and professionals who work in education typically draw upon a wealth of academic vocabulary in their every interaction. We have easy access to this word richness, and it becomes part of who we are and how we communicate. What we recognise when we closely scrutinise the patterns of academic

What should we do with word lists? Post feature image

What should we do with word lists?

A question I get asked a lot from teachers and school leaders is ‘what is the word list that best helps pupils grasp the academic language of school?’ The regular – perhaps unsatisfactory – answer I offer is that word lists don’t quite do the job we’d hope. There is

Mighty Morphology - 5 Resources Post feature image

Mighty Morphology - 5 Resources

One of the most enduring teaching strategies, for almost every classroom at every key stage, is the explicit teaching of morphology: the structure of words and their meanings.  Teaching word parts, including the history of the word (etymology), can prove much more than a mere curiosity. It can be vital

7 Helpful Vocabulary Websites Post feature image

7 Helpful Vocabulary Websites

The Internet is a minefield of useless websites, but sometimes you can unearth some gems. New AI applications, like ChatGPT, are making the news, with potential for useful vocabulary learning, applications for writing, the classroom, and more. For those seeking useful vocabulary websites, these 7 may just do the trick:

10 Creative Ways to Teach Vocabulary Post feature image

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

The Problem with Teaching Sophisticated Vocabulary Post feature image

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’

Why teaching academic vocabulary matters Post feature image

Why teaching academic vocabulary matters

A new school year begins, full of old routines and new challenges. It is only natural to seek out novel ideas to start the year afresh, but we should be wary they are not at the expense of long-held priorities and practices. The teaching of academic vocabulary is one of

Teaching Vocabulary and Mighty Morphemes Post feature image

Teaching Vocabulary and Mighty Morphemes

How do you teach a tricky new word, or seek to boost the word hoard of the pupils you teach? One of the most common approaches to developing academic vocabulary is to study morphology – breaking words down into their component parts and roots. It can support the development of academic

Commonly Confused Academic Vocabulary Post feature image

Commonly Confused Academic Vocabulary

It is vital for our pupils to possess a wealth of academic vocabulary if they are to succeed in school.  For most of my teaching career, this issue was tacit and flew beneath my radar. Vocabulary issues were often hidden in plain sight. In the last few years, however, developing

Three Pillars of Vocabulary Teaching Post feature image

Three Pillars of Vocabulary Teaching

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that vocabulary knowledge is crucial for pupils’ school success. Pupils are language sponges, learning thousands of words each year. Like increases in a child’s height, it is a slow but inexorable development. On a daily basis it is near-imperceptible, but when you begin

Working Words into Writing Post feature image

Working Words into Writing

What connections can you make between these words? Are there any patterns of meaning or word families you notice? Could you even detect the author who penned these words? These disembodied words are drawn from the Charles Dickens classic, ‘A Christmas Carol’. I have used the word cloud as a