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Disciplinary Literacy

Reading successfully in any subject depends upon students’ ability to read accurately and fluently so that they can direct their attention to the knowledge they will learn from the text rather than to decoding it.

At Chew Valley School the we use the guidance from the EEF Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools | EEF ( to develop effective strategies in the classroom.

As a school we recognise the important role the subject teacher has as a specialist and therefore the responsibility to deliver effective disciplinary literacy.

Staff have received training to deliver targeted vocabulary.

There are four main techniques that are in use on a day-to-day basis that should be delivered within the structure of the Chew Valley Learning cycle.

  • Specify and define
  • Say it again…
  • I say, you say, my turn, your turn
  • Dig at the roots

Students are provided with key vocabulary lists for every unit, these contain both the key word and a student friendly definition. Click on subject links to see these lists.

The etymology of words is also discussed with students and classroom/corridor displays will emphasize this as well.

Further training has taken place to focus upon “Reading Aloud”.

Teachers take opportunities to read aloud to students, across the curriculum, providing a model of fluency and understanding the importance of reading to students to ensure correct pronunciation of key vocabulary. 

In all lessons, teachers provide practice in decoding unfamiliar words from a text that students are about to read and explain their meaning.

The four techniques for targeted vocabulary should form part of this process but also integrated into lessons generally to cover tier 3 language.

Talk and discussion across the curriculum - Talk and discussion should continue to form an important part of all lessons. It is a way of thinking deeply about new knowledge and ideas, as well as a way of learning something new. Making sure that students talk throughout the lesson is particularly important for those who are learning English as an additional language.  Using paired talk as part of whole-class discussion is one way of ensuring that all students contribute.