Closing the Vocabulary Gap: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Closing the Vocabulary Gap

1st Edition

By Alex Quigley


204 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138080683
pub: 2018-04-11
Hardback: 9781138080607
pub: 2018-03-26
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315113272
pub: 2018-04-06
from $11.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


As teachers grapple with the challenge of a new, bigger and more challenging school curriculum, at every key stage and phase, success can feel beyond our reach. But what if there were 50,000 small solutions to help us bridge that gap?

In Closing the Vocabulary Gap, Alex Quigley explores the increased demands of an academic curriculum and how closing the vocabulary gap between our ‘word poor’ and ‘word rich’ students could prove the vital difference between school failure and success.

This must-read book presents the case for teacher-led efforts to develop students' vocabulary and provides practical solutions for teachers across the curriculum, incorporating easy-to-use tools, resources and classroom activities. Grounded in the very best available evidence into reading development and vocabulary acquisition, Closing the Vocabulary Gap sets out to:

  • help teachers understand the vital role of vocabulary in all learning;
  • share what every teacher needs to know about reading (but was afraid to ask);
  • unveil the intriguing history of words and exactly how they work;
  • reveal the elusive secrets to achieve spelling success;
  • provide strategies for vocabulary development for all teachers of every subject and phase.

With engaging anecdotes from the author’s extensive personal teaching experience woven throughout, as well as accessible summaries of relevant research, Alex Quigley has written an invaluable resource suitable for classroom teachers across all phases, literacy leaders and senior leadership teams who wish to close the vocabulary gap.


"In the years I’ve devoted to literacy, I have learnt what I should have always have known - that nothing matters more than words. Our vocabulary allows us to interpret the world, to express ourselves with greater clarity, to show confidence, insight and perceptiveness. Words lie at the heart of our quest to narrow gaps between the advantaged and disadvantaged, to address social mobility. That’s why I am so pleased to welcome Alex Quigley’s powerfully illuminating book. It is a vital reminder that knowing about vocabulary is the responsibility of every teacher. It is also the entitlement of every child."Geoff Barton, General Secretary of Association of School and College Leaders

"Expertly weaving academic research with observations from the classroom, Alex Quigley explains why word poverty matters – and sets out what can be done about it. Word knowledge, he argues, is critical for success in every subject and as such it is the responsibility of all teachers to become word conscious. Don’t grab a dictionary. Read this excellent book instead and discover an approach to vocabulary instruction that is rich, organised and cumulative — and relevant for developing disciplinary knowledge across the entire curriculum."Kate Nation, Professor of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, UK

"This book offers a great overview of the research on learning vocabulary, and practical advice on how to apply this research in the classroom."Daisy Christodoulou, Research and Development Manager, ARK Schools, UK

"A key strength of this book is that it summarises research evidence for teachers, providing a primer on vocabulary, morphology, etymology, phonics, reading comprehension strategies and much more. In addition to being instructive, it provides flexible frameworks so teachers can develop materials, activities and assessments that will meet their needs, and those of their students. The book is essential reading for any teacher hoping to raise levels of vocabulary, reading and writing."Dr Jessie Ricketts, TES

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Closing the vocabulary gap – problems and solutions

Chapter 2. What every teacher needs to know about reading

Chapter 3. What is in a word? Know your roots

Chapter 4. ‘Wot d’ya mean by academic vocabulary’

Chapter 5. Developing vocabulary and ‘disciplinary literacy’

Chapter 6. We need to talk about spelling

Chapter 7. Practical strategies for closing the vocabulary gap

Chapter 8. Next steps



About the Author

Alex Quigley is an English teacher and Director of Huntington Research School, York, UK. He can be found on Twitter @HuntingEnglish and blogs at

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:

School Discounts

Looking to purchase Closing the Vocabulary Gap in your school? We offer discounts for schools when purchasing in larger volumes. To discuss these options please contact Louise Perrier.

Direct Dial +44 (20) 701 745528
Switchboard: +44 (0) 207 017 6000

Find out more.