A quick literacy task can refresh a floundering stage of a lesson. On the board, write five or six relevant words – ideally, start some with the same letter (e.g. texture, pencil, perspective, shading, parallel). Challenge students to put the vocab. in alphabetical order – they are only allowed to look at the words. Alphabetical sorting reinforces key words and spelling; it also provides a break from the other work. Students return to the original task having been thinking in a different way.
A statistic on spoken language. “By the age of seven, the top 25% of children know more than twice as many words as the bottom 25%…. Group work provides an opportunity for the word poor to mingle with the word rich, to hear language being used by pupils of their own age in ways that they might not otherwise encounter.” When students are engaged in discussion, try to mix by ability rather than allowing the layout of desks and friendship groups to dictate on every occasion.
Short sentences ‘framing’ a paragraph allow students to demonstrate that their own writing is controlled and deliberate. Use short sentences at the start and end of paragraphs: they give clarity and help to summarise. Encourage students to do the same. Draw attention to this whenever you see it in textbooks in your subject. An example,
Literacy must be prioritised. Although there are many external factors that can affect progress in the classroom, we do have some control during lessons. We should be teaching reading and writing skills consistently, to enable greater independence and to boost performance across the curriculum. Literacy is key to raising attainment.
Pre-teach unfamiliar words before encountering them. Scan your texts / worksheets / film clips in advance; aim to cover the meaning and (especially) the pronunciation of advanced vocabulary at the beginning of the lesson. When students eventually encounter the difficult words in context, perhaps twenty minutes later, they are more likely to commit the vocabulary to long-term memory