Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wow words

The wow word in our house this morning was "frequency". And "frequent" and "frequently". We had a spelling list of "high frequency words", which prompted my children to discuss what this meant, and how else we could use this wow word.

According to Ros Wilson, creator of Oxford School Improvement's Big Writing, used in many primary schools,  wow words are words that you would not expect your child, at their age, to know and use, and you are impressed when they do. Children are encouraged in literacy lessons in school to expand their vocabulary and explore new words, and new ways of using them when speaking and writing. If your child comes out with a new word, and it makes you go "Wow, that's a great word to use - well done!" then that's a wow word. Wow words are different depending on the age of the child. While "frequency" was a wow word for my 5 and 7 year old this morning, I would not necessarily expect it to be a wow word to an 11 year old.

Help your children by using wow words when talking to them. Using a new word and then discussing what it means and coming up with other examples of when it can be used, will expand their vocabulary and have benefits for their writing and speaking in all areas of the curriculum, at school, and at home. Having a large vocabulary can be seen to be irritatingly rather than endearingly precocious, but by teaching them to discover these new words we are increasing their confidence in using English and increasing their chances of doing well in literacy especially but in all subjects in school. So I'll put up with a little bit of irritating precociousness while I teach them what precocious means.

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