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Language and Communication Learn new words  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


General ideas for learning new words.

Early years skill:not specified
Early years typical range:not specified
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum skill:English
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum level:L1-L5
TAP skill:Language
TAP level:TAP55-72
Section:Primary (5-11yrs) info; Secondary (11-16yrs) info

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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Exploring words

Written word with a picture

Written sounds for beginning/ end of each word

Visuals for the story

Dictionary (maybe)


Ideas you can use to help word learning - you do not need to use all of them, and some will work better than others for different children.

1. Introduce the written form of the word;

2. Say the word to the child and ask for repetition;

3. Ask the child to clap syllables on your or their hands, use prompting if necessary. Or alternatively they could tap the syllables out on pictures of drums (say four arranged in a row);

4. Ask if any other words rhyme with this new word (think of examples yourself) - you could take this in turns in a group;

5. Ask for beginning and ending sounds;

6. Tell the child a short story or anecdote, including the word as the main feature if possible - or work with the child to work a story out;

7. Give an explicit definition (school dictionary maybe - some dictionaries are more helpful than others for this!) and give context(s) preferably first one being the one used in the story as it’s familiar but make sure to offer other contexts;

8. Ask the child if they can put the word in a sentence/ tell a short story including the word;

9. If ability allows, ask the child if they know of any word which means a similar thing.

These activities help to build a child’s vocabulary with solid representations of words.

It gives a child strategies to use when learning and remembering new words.

It builds the child’s confidence on a topic, especially if taught before the relevant lesson.

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