Building Vocabulary: 10 Strategies for Closing the Gap

Teaching Top Tens

Over summer I read Alex Quigley’s ‘Closing the Vocabulary Gap’. It has really hit me how the quality of a student’s vocabulary can be indicative of not only what they learn, but what they can access, and how they can respond both verbally and in written work.

After my return to school, I think two more aspects of vocabulary have hit me. The first is seeing the GCSE papers returning, and looking at grade 9 ones from last year, and thinking really hard about what separates a 30/30 response from a 23-25/30 response. I think it’s the vocabulary.

As an examiner myself, I’m not suggesting that the words a student uses can dupe the examiner into thinking they’re more intelligent. And actually, whilst I teach a lot of vocabulary to students, it is only the ones who actively work to apply that vocabulary that can use it seamlessly. I think…

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