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The Rowans AP Academy

Inspiring change for a brighter future

Improving Vocabulary

Addressing the ‘Word Gap’

The term ‘Word Gap’ is usually used to refer to children in Early Years or Primary settings for those children entering Primary school with vocabulary below age related expectations. However, research by the OUP suggests that this affects a wider range of children; not just those starting school. This word gap may be present when a child starts school, but can extend throughout their school life and beyond.

The number of children who have a limited vocabulary is increasing. This will affect children in the following ways:

  • 72% will have difficulty working independently.
  • 77% will have difficulty in following what is going on in lessons.
  • 79% will achieve worse results in National Tests such as GCSEs
  • 91% will make less than expected rates of progress in English.
  • 85% will make less than expected progress in ALL other subjects.

“Language is the foundation of education and is vital for social and emotional development. Children with poor oral language are at high risk of poor literacy and hence educational failure.” Professor Maggie Snowling CBE Oxford.

In view of this, it is absolutely essential that we equip our pupils with language that will not limit their world. We want language to open their world and give them the power to communicate their thoughts and ideas in a mature and reasoned way, providing them with a lifetime of opportunities.

With this in mind, The Rowans has a ‘Word of the Week’, with all staff actively encouraging pupils to use these words which will empower them to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and confidently. Each week, a new word will be introduced and pupils will be rewarded for using them in written and oral work. The words will be displayed around the school and all staff will model how to use the word appropriately.


Word of the week 12/10/20: Justify (verb)

Definition: To give or to be a good reason for.

Synonyms: Defend, explain, validate

Used in a sentence: I can't really justify taking another day off school.

Previous word of the weeks 2020/21:

Week Word Definition Synonyms Used in a sentence
07/09/20 Enterprising (adjective) To have or show initiative and resourcefulness. Imaginative, resourceful, inventive Some enterprising teachers have started their own recycling programmes.
14/09/20 Diffusion (noun) The action of spreading in many directions. Dispersal, dissemination, distribution Modern communications make the diffusion of ideas effective.
21/09/20 Meticulous (adjective) Very careful and with great attention to every detail. Careful, scrupulous, thorough Many hours of meticulous preparation have gone into writing the book.
28/09/20 Reiterate (verb) To say something again, once or several times. Repeat, recap, re-tell She had to reiterate that she had never seen him before.
05/10/20 Evaluate (verb) To judge or calculate the quality, importance, amount, or value of something. Assess, appraise, weigh up We shall need to evaluate how the new material stands up to wear and tear.
12/10/20 Justify (verb) To give or to be a good reason for. Defend, explain, validate I can't really justify taking another day of school.

Previous word of the weeks 2019/20:

Week Word Definition Synonyms Used in a sentence
11/11/19 Implicit (adjective) Describes something that is suggested, though not shown openly. Understood, implied, unspoken She had implicit trust in me.
18/11/19 Deduce (verb) To reach an answer or a decision by thinking carefully about the known facts. Infer, assume, reason We cannot deduce much from these figures.
25/11/19 Synthesis (noun) The mixing of different ideas,  influences, or things to make a whole that is different, or new. Fusion, bend, combination His latest album is a synthesis of different sounds.
02/12/19 Equivalent (adjective) Having the same amount, value, purpose qualities etc. Equal, same, alike Is $50 equivalent to £30?
09/12/19 Benevolent (adjective) Kind and helpful. Compassionate, generous, giving He was a benevolent man and always wanted to help others.
06/01/20 Reactive (adjective) To behave in response to an event or situation. Responsive, volatile, hasty It is sensible to be less reactive and think carefully before making hasty decisions.
13/01/20 Gradient (noun) A measure of how steep a slope is. Incline, slope, rise The course was difficult, there were many steep gradients.
20/01/20 Etiquette (noun) A set of customs for polite behaviour. Manners, politeness, decorum Students from the Rowans displayed wonderful etiquette at lunch today.
27/01/20 Contradiction (noun) A fact or statement that is the opposite of what someone has said. Opposition, inconsistency, challenge You said that you were good friends and yet you don’t trust him. Isn’t that a contradiction?
03/02/20 Perspective (noun) A particular way of considering something. Though, view, standpoint Her attitude gives a fresh perspective on the subject.
10/02/20 Distinguished (adjective) A person (or a body of work) respected and admired for their excellence. Illustrious, prominent, great She had a valued and distinguished career ahead of her.
24/02/20 Prolong (verb) To make something last a longer time. Delay, lengthen, elongate We had such a great holiday so we decided to prolong it by another week.
02/03/20 Reciprocate (Verb) To share the same feelings as someone else, or to behave in the same way as someone else. Respond, reply, return Sadly, my feelings for him were not reciprocated.
09/03/20 Tenacious (adjective) Holding onto something tightly, or keeping an opinion in a determined way. Stubborn, obstinate, resolute The baby took my finger in its tenacious little fist.
16/03/20 Alleviate (verb) To make something bad, such as problems or pain, less severe. Ease, lessen, improve The medication did nothing to alleviate her suffering.