Subject intent (The ‘why’)

"If we teach students the words, we give them the world." 
(Stahl & Kapinus)

Why teach it? 

Language is all around us. It can open doors and unlock opportunities for children. From an early age, we begin to identify sounds we hear, make links between them, begin to comprehend words, develop an awareness of language and use this to develop our understanding of the world. Words give us access to a whole world of reading, writing, imagination, new subjects, communication, and confidence. Acquiring and commanding vocabulary are key to learning and progress. A lack of vocabulary – a word gap – can seriously limit a child’s capacity to learn, their enjoyment in school, their self-esteem and therefore overall life chances. It is vital to encourage our children’s development of vocabulary and their understanding of language, in order to give them the tools for success across all aspects of their life. 

National Curriculum aims

The national curriculum for Vocabulary aims to ensure that all pupils: 
•    are given the opportunities to develop their vocabulary actively, with teachers building on pupils’ current knowledge
•    increase their store of words in general and make links between known and new vocabulary
•    discuss the shades of meaning in similar words
•    expand the vocabulary choices that are available to them when they write
•    understand the meanings of words they meet in their reading across all subjects therefore enabling comprehension
•    understand and use language which defines each subject, such as mathematical and scientific vocabulary
•    can clarify the meanings of unknown words using known strategies.

Additional Hazeldown aims

In addition to the aforementioned National Curriculum aims, we strive to ensure that our pupils have opportunities to access high level vocabulary and a language rich environment.  We encourage our children to be interested, motivated and curious about words and we strive to remove barriers to vocabulary learning. We do this through daily exposure to high quality ambitious texts, Word of the Week, learning journeys and educational trips. 

Planned content – Key Stage One and Two

Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers should show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They should also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. 

Pupils should be taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They should be taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed in the National Curriculum. 

Throughout the programmes of study, teachers should teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching. 

At Hazeldown, Vocabulary is taught using several strategies, including:

•    Explicit, direct teaching of high-quality, ambitious tier-2 level vocabulary using communicate in print icons within Literacy lessons
•    Encouraging a love of language and excitement around words through Word of the Week and ‘our favourite words’ posters
•    The use of colourful semantics displays and cards in classrooms to support vocabulary structure and up-levelling within Literacy lessons
•    The use of ISPACE openers displays and word mats to vary sentence openers
•    Experimenting with shades of meaning and word gradients to up-level vocabulary, create discussions around the power of words and create word banks
•    Teaching pupils’ strategies for working out the meaning of unknown words, such as morphology
•    Teaching children how to reason and explain using metacognition style questioning 

One Minute Guide

For further information on the Languages curriculum, please contact our subject leader, Kristina Collier, on [email protected].

Hazeldown Primary School
Maudlin Drive, Teignmouth,
Devon, TQ14 8SE
Stuart Ludford | Headteacher

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