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Eight Strategies to Teach Academic Language

A famous quote by Karl Albrecht goes that by changing your language, you directly alter your thoughts. As such, students have to transform their thought processes and integrate academic language in articulating their academic obligations. It ensures success in their academic life in the short and long run. 

So what does an academic language entail? It’s a unique meta-language that assists students to communicate and includes grammar, speaking, use of illustrations, and many other aspects. So what ideas can you possibly consider to develop your capacity to communicate properly in an academic language?

Eight Teaching Strategies for Academic Language

Well, many people can easily confuse academic language with all words and vocabulary. But, nothing can prove further from the truth. Academic language entails specific words based on the level of education. You can start from the general high-frequency instructional words like summarize, paraphrase, justify, and predict, which falls under the Tier Two level. It especially applies to those individuals keen to incorporate academic language in their study lessons. Further, the words form a key component of standardized tests and the like. 

The teaching strategies include:

  1. You have to encourage learners to study or read different types of texts. You can learn the academic language in a robust manner by reading, thinking, and finally talking about the diverse genres sequentially.
  2. Incorporate summary frames. To make a summary can prove a fail-safe and simple method of learning academic language. You have to read a segment of text before making a verbal summary of the passage to a compatriot. Similarly, students can finish up sentence frames.
  3. Assist learners to translate an academic language to a social semantic and the other way round. You can model a way of saying something in an academic way, and alternatively, paraphrase a text framed academically into a conversational language. Try and give learners a complex expository passage and segment them into groups to come up with reinterpretation of the same text in everyday language.
  4. It’s also useful to have learners finish academic routine scripts. The discourse of some routines can prove apparent to adults, and become completely difficult for young students, unless you include scaffolds to help in the learning process.
  5. Try to present academic vocabulary in a dynamic way. It becomes easy for learners to internalize definitions of words when they encounter the word repeatedly in diverse authentic contexts. Teachers can also help such words stick by introducing them in creative and sticky ways. Introduce the word by using it in a personal story or in a funny way.
  6. It is possible to assist learners to pen down differences and similarities in a diagrammatic manner. Learners can create a listing of all the differences and similarities between words using a Venn. For instance contrasting and comparing butterflies and moths using a high-yield instructional strategy.
  7. You can encourage students to write by using a specific transitional handout. Academic writing can prove challenging to most students, regardless of age. As such, it proves wise to give learners a handout containing transitions that has models where such transitions fit, besides describing how they can assist the reader.
  8. You can also teach some key words to help students understand prompts for standardized tests.


It becomes crucial for teachers to embrace the above-mentioned strategies to impart students with a capacity to write and use academic language.