Speaking, language and listening

Language and listening activities provide an important foundation for literacy in early years education – and bonus – they are so much fun! 

I’m sharing lots of minimal-prep activities and writing action rhymes to support your program and help make your mini-lessons imaginative and playful.

Today I’m also sharing with you – over at TPT – some visuals to create speaking sticks or posters. 

A speaking stick, puppet or mask can help a reluctant-contributor to be brave and take a turn in a language activity. My personal teaching philosophy was always to wait for students to feel confident to share verbally when they were ready but to try various scaffolds or support along the way. All children are different but as you gain experience you will notice some similar characteristics and ways to support your language activities – try different strategies within a consistent, safe learning space for students. 

Just a few ideas:

  • reducing pressure for students to take a turn
  • making games short, fun and ‘no big deal’ (don’t get overly congratulatory or too spirited when a shy student does particulate initially) 
  • letting students play whole class games in smaller groups or pairs the next day
  • creating a dress-up corner, puppet corner or putting these speaking-sticks out for flexible, open-ended and free play opportunities

speaking sticks

Here is a language game to play with the sticks (or without) that will help your students be brave and ask for clarification. 

Tell Me Again

  • have 2 students hold a speaking stick (for the first round the teacher can take one and lead)
  • greet one another and have a conversation that includes a long list of things to remember – e.g. shopping items, going to the beach, preparing gifts for Christmas, cooking

  • An example could be:
  • Mel: Hello Sam, what are you doing?
  • Sam: Oh hi Mel, I’m going to the beach, do you want to come?
  • Mel: Yes, what do I need to bring?
  • Sam: You need to bring a big warm towel, a bucket to play with, lots of sunscreen, a water bottle that you can refill and a big straw hat.
  • Mel: So many things! I need help – can you say that all again please and help me remember.
  • Sam: Sure, I can help. You’ll need a towel, bucket, sunscreen, water and a hat. 
  • Mel: A towel, a bucket…
  • Sam: You’ll need a towel, bucket, sunscreen, water and a hat. 
  • Mel: A towel, bucket, sunscreen, water and a hat. 
  • Sam: You got it!

Discuss with you class how the conversation went, how clarification was sought and how a list of items was summarised and repeated to help with remembering things!

Your students may also like to create some conversation, kind words or a simple story using the ‘said’ page over in the Coloring Club! 

talking bubbles

Don’t forget to get the free sticks today – over at TPT!

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