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Language skills: Why closing the word gap matters

Teachers are well aware that pupils’ language skills vary enormously when they first come to school. However, a recent report indicates the extent to which this discrepancy continues to impact throughout their school career.

Why Closing the Word Gap Matters: Oxford Language Report makes clear just how important pupils’ language is and not only when it comes to English as a subject. Having limited vocabulary impacts throughout primary and secondary school and in every curriculum area. The main message of the report is just how important it is to continue exposing children to a language-rich environment.

Teacher with a group of preschool children in a nursery teaching language skills. The children are sitting on the floor and listening teacher. Learning letters. In the background we can see a shelf with some, toys, black board and books. View from behind.

It’s not just about decoding words but finding enjoyment in reading and even ensuring that there is a well-stocked library for pupils to draw on. The authors would like to see:

  • support for language development continuing to be provided throughout both primary and secondary schools
  • extending vocabulary knowledge through reading.

Chapters in the report are written by different authors and provide a variety of perspectives on what is a compelling argument.

Why Closing the Word Gap Matters: Oxford Language Report can be found at oxford.ly/wordgap.