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Teachers: Literacy: Word

Last Updated: Thursday August 11 2005 13:04 GMT

Different audiences

The audience at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (Picture: Donald Cooper)

Students examine levels of language difficulty for different audiences.

They use a thesaurus to simplify a news story for younger pupils.

Learning aims
  • Simplify texts to suit a younger audience
  • Use a thesaurus to find synonyms

Michael Purkiss, 10, has written a book

Read out this story to the class.

The story and following activity are available as a printable worksheet.

Discuss why children younger than the class might find the bold words difficult to understand.

Explain that words which mean the same are called synonyms and that a thesaurus is a good place to look for them.

Activity: Students write down a simpler synonym for each of the bold words:

  • composing
  • nominated
  • extended
  • concluding
  • devised
  • Don
  • capture the imagination of
  • poignant
  • humorous
  • purchased
  • translated
They compare their choice of words to the ones used on the Newsround website. Click on the story in the blue box.

Explain to students that these words have been chosen for an audience of 7 to 14-year-olds.

Ask students: Do you think the level of difficulty is about right for the Newsround audience? Why/why not?

Main activity
The children's cover for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Select a Newsround website story for the class to rewrite.

A good choice might be the following story:

Extension activity

Students create a synonym difficulty barometer. At the top of a piece of paper they write easy and at the bottom, they write difficult, and in between they write 1 to 10 in the margin.

Students look up a word in a thesaurus and write down up to 10 synonyms on the page, against the numbers, with 1 being the most easy to understand and 10 being the most difficult.

Students discuss which words and level of difficulty (1-10) are appropriate for different audiences.


The class read aloud their simplified versions and give reasons for their changes.

Curriculum relevance

English / KS 2&3 / En3 Writing

1b. To broaden vocabulary and use it in inventive ways.
6a. To understand how written standard English varies in degrees of formality.
11. The range of readers for writing should include teachers, the class, other children, adults, the wider community and imagined readers.

The numbers refer to the KS2 National Curriculum Programme of Study for English.

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