3 Ways To Help Students Improve Academic Language


In today’s fast-paced educational environment, ensuring that students are equipped with the necessary linguistic tools is paramount. Academic language is the formal, discipline-specific language used in schooling, encompassing a broad range of vocabulary, grammar, and discourse features. Students often face challenges in mastering this form of language, which can significantly impact their overall academic performance. Enhancing students’ prowess in academic language is crucial for their overall success in school and beyond. Whether you’re a teacher or a parent, there are proven strategies that can be used to strengthen this skill. By the way, if you’re seeking more educational resources or homework assistance for students, you might want to check out https://123homework.com/ for expert support.

1. Introduce Rich Vocabulary through Varied Reading Materials

Academic language is replete with subject-specific vocabulary, complex sentence structures, and advanced grammar. Introducing students to a diverse range of reading materials is one of the most effective ways to immerse them in such a language.

Diverse Texts

Begin with providing students with texts from various genres, like historical accounts, scientific journals, classical literature, and even op-eds from reputable newspapers. Exposure to varied texts allows students to encounter different vocabulary and syntactic patterns.

Vocabulary Journals

Encourage students to maintain a vocabulary journal. Whenever they come across an unfamiliar word or phrase, they can jot it down and search for its meaning. Over time, this practice will help them recognize and incorporate these words into their own writing and speech.

Discussion Circles

After reading, organize group discussions where students can discuss the material. This not only aids comprehension but also gives students a platform to practice using newly learned vocabulary and structures in conversation.

2. Promote Structured Writing Exercises

One cannot emphasize enough how pivotal structured writing exercises are. These exercises, while seemingly straightforward, are designed to not only bolster academic language usage but also to sharpen critical thinking and analytical skills.


At first glance, summaries might seem like a rudimentary task. However, when students attempt to condense a lengthy article, they’re not just shortening it. They’re learning to identify core ideas, discern crucial information from supplementary details, and then present these in a crisp, academic tone. Furthermore, summaries teach students to be concise, a skill that becomes increasingly vital as they progress into higher education where word limits are strict and the expectation is to convey ideas succinctly.

Compare and Contrast Essays

Contrasting and comparing subjects is an excellent exercise in analytical thinking. Students need to go beyond mere surface-level observations, diving deep into the nuances that differentiate or bind subjects together. The requirement of using specific transitional words – such as “however,” “similarly,” or “on the other hand” – also pushes students to be coherent and organized in their presentation of ideas.

Research Projects

Navigating academic sources is a skill unto itself. Recognizing credible sources, understanding dense academic prose, and then synthesizing multiple pieces of information into a cohesive whole, are all crucial elements of a research project.

While exploring these articles and books, students subtly pick up the academic tone, structure, and lexicon, which they will then mirror in their own writing. The practice of citing sources also teaches them the importance of giving credit, a foundational principle in academic ethics.

3. Offer Explicit Instruction and Practice in Grammar and Syntax

While practice in writing equips students with the skills to convey ideas, the structure – or the grammar and syntax – is the backbone of those skills.

Grammar Workshops

These workshops can be tailored to address the specific needs of the class. By analyzing common mistakes in student writing, the lessons become more relevant and engaging. Discussing incorrect verb tenses or the proper placement of modifiers in a real context makes the learning experience tangible. It transitions grammar from an abstract concept to a practical tool that enhances clarity and precision in writing.

Peer Review Sessions

Peer reviews offer a dual advantage. On one hand, students receive feedback, which is essential for growth. On the other, reviewing a peer’s work sharpens their analytical skills, enabling them to detect not just grammatical errors, but also issues in coherence, argumentation, and structure.

In conclusion, the mastery of academic language is a pivotal skill that can significantly affect a student’s success in the academic arena. By introducing them to rich vocabulary, promoting structured writing exercises, and offering explicit instruction in grammar and syntax, we can equip our students with the tools they need to excel.