Meet the #WordPowerLeague of superheroes – helping pupils to #PowerUp language learning

I’m pleased to announce the publication of my first book with Singular Publishing, Word Power: Amplifying vocabulary instruction – available from 30 August 2019 – with foreword by Alex Quigley, author of Closing the Vocabulary Gap (2018).  Books can be purchased through Word Power training events and conferences from September 2019, or via PayPal here.

Many thanks also to Nikki Gamble – founder of Just Imagine and author of Exploring Children’s Literature: Reading for Knowledge, Understanding and Pleasure (2019); Mary Myatt, author of The Curriculum: Gallimaufry to Coherence (2018), High Challenge, Low Threat (2016) and Hopeful Schools (2016); John Murray, author of the Reading Rocketeers, Reading Explorers and Top Class Comprehension series and Victoria Pendry from the Curriculum Foundation for your support and endorsements and all the teachers and leaders throughout the UK who have shared their experiences of the impact of using Word Power to boost vocabulary instruction in schools since 2016.

word power cover

#WordPower investigates the how and why of both explicit and implicit vocabulary instruction in the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.  This unique approach to vocabulary learning has been refined by drawing on evidence of what works and synthesising this understanding into practical strategies that can be used to foster the development of language-rich classrooms.  Word Power has been built around the following Big Ideas, helping schools to consider practical solutions for closing the ‘word gap’:

word power big ideas

Unlock, Power-Up, Charge and Recharge – Word Power offers ready-to-use ideas, empowering pupils to investigate vocabulary in context, whilst also building teachers’ subject knowledge of how Power-Up word learning.  Word Power is NOT a ‘word of the day’ resource, but rather a dynamic tool with advice and evidence-informed ideas for analysing new words encountered when reading, writing, speaking and listening – helping pupils to understand how to harness and effectively utilise new words encountered for different purposes.

The heart of the Word Power approach are the eight Power-Up word learning strategies, each linked to an engaging superhero from the #WordPowerLeague.  Each member of the Word Power League helps pupils to develop 3 different word learning skills – all directly linked to FS, KS1 and KS2 assessment and curriculum content (detail of specific links are provided in the book). To help pupils remember the different ways in which they can Power-Up word learning, each member of the Word Power League is also equipped with 3 superpowers (one linked to each skill).

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce the vibrant heroes of the Word Power League – illustrations by the brilliant Henryk Jachimczyk (Hen the Pen).


phoneme phantom

Phoneme Phantom


  • Powerful Ears – Listen, tune into and manipulate sounds to connect patterns in words (skill 1.1)
  • Hair Sticks – Use articulation, emphasis and repetition to help words ‘stick’ in word memory (skill 1.2)
  • Shield Transmitter – Read aloud and perform whole texts and orally rehearse for writing to build fluency (skill 1.3)


Graphic Guardian

Graphic Guardian


  • Iron Fist – Practise writing new words learned to ‘anchor’ familiar patterns in memory (skill 2.1)
  • Direction Glasses – Develop directionality, orientation, positioning and spacing to secure a fluent handwriting style (skill 2.2)
  • Super Strength – Build hand strength for speed, accuracy, effective presentation and written fluency (2.3)


Spelling spy

Spelling Spy


  • Utility Belt – Use a range of strategies to build spelling knowledge (skill 3.1)
  • Pattern Glasses – Explore the visual features and ‘patterns’ in words to strengthen word memory (skill 3.2)
  • Tricky Tome – Edit and proofread writing to correct spelling errors (skill 3.3)


Professor personal

Professor Personal


  • Question Power – Ask and answer questions to build word knowledge (skill 4.1)
  • Boomerang Pen – Gather and discuss new words encountered when reading and writing (skill 4.2)
  • Spyglass – Use inference and prediction to build understanding of new words in context (skill 4.3)


Captain connector

Captain Connector


  • Bountiful Bucket – Collect other words related in meaning to target words (skill 5.1)
  • Super Flexibility – ‘Stretch’ connections by understanding how texts work: themes, structure, features, form (skill 5.2)
  • Connection Catcher – Connect and ‘catch’ the meaning and use of words across the curriculum (skill 5.3)


Meaning mastermind

Meaning Mastermind


  • Context Vest – Investigate word meaning in ‘context’: semantics and syntax (skill 6.1)
  • Multi-coloured Hair – Explore ‘multiple’ meanings of words in different contexts (skill 6.2)
  • Super Slippers – Choose and ‘slip’ words into new contexts to build word depth (skill 6.3)


Morpheme marvel

Morpheme Marvel


  • Root Suit – Investigate and compare ‘root’ meanings of new words by exploring morphemes (skill 7.1)
  • Laser Mask – Spot new morphemes when reading and listening to investigate meaning (skill 7.2)
  • M-Belt Badge – Remember to choose and use ‘morphemes’ when writing as a key spelling and composition strategy (skill 7.3)


Doctor Derivation

Doctor Derivation


  • Field Glasses – Search for social, historical, cultural and/or religious significance of the words we use (skill 8.1)
  • Multi-lingual Headphones – Listen out for and explore the meaning and use of words we have borrowed into English from other languages (skill 8.2)
  • Time-Travelling Watch – Investigate how the meaning of words changes over ‘time’: semantic shift (skill 8.3)


Please get in touch and let me know how you have used the #WordPowerLeague to #PowerUp word learning in your own classroom – @kashleyenglish.

To book a #WordPower training event in your school or local area, contact

Word Power is a registered trademark, Kelly Ashley Consultancy, 2019

2 thoughts on “Meet the #WordPowerLeague of superheroes – helping pupils to #PowerUp language learning

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