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Developing language and literacy in science

Added 14 Jun 2023 | Updated 15 Jun 23

Science test tubes.jpg

The role of literacy in science teaching

Research has found that the strongest factor affecting secondary pupils’ science scores is their literacy levels. Poor literacy skills can affect how well a pupil is able to understand scientific vocabulary and to prepare scientific reports. This suggests that strategies that develop pupils’ reading comprehension could have a positive impact on their achievement in science.

In 2018 the Education Endowment Foundation published Improving Secondary Science which highlights five areas for developing literacy in science:

  • Promote metacognitive talk and dialogue in the classroom
  • Carefully select the vocabulary to teach and focus on the ‘most tricky’ words
  • Show the links between words and their composite parts
  • Use activities to engage pupils with reading scientific text and help them to comprehend it
  • Support pupils to develop their scientific writing skills

Resources for teachers

These resources provide subject disciplinary theory as well as evidence-based practical strategies. They are designed to support literacy coordinators and science teachers to implement actions recommended by recent research and guidance.

The resource set includes:

  • Teacher guidance on Developing literacy in science provising research insights, classroom ideas and further reading.
  • A sample DARTS (Directed Activities Related to Text) activity to encourage closer and deeper reading and strategies for direct vocabulary instruction.
  • Vocabulary grid template
  • Case study from a sixth form science book club with ideas to inspire you as well as practical advice
  • A book list of suggestions to consider for your STEM book club

CPD to extend your literacy in science knowledge

If you would like to learn more about building effective literacy strategies for teaching and learning science, explore our specialist Developing literacy in science CPD training.

This is offered as both group/whole-school training and also on a scheduled, ticketed basis.

Booking now available for both the summer and autumn terms.

Learn more about Literacy in science CPD
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