Speaking and listening – support and extension ideas

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By Eileen Joneseducation journalist and literacy specialist

One size does not fit all – discover fresh speaking and listening ideas for supporting and extending all the children in your class


Speaking and listening skills are prized areas of the curriculum. Interactive and collaborative, they enhance relationships, social integration, and self-esteem. Nevertheless, they present the same difficulties as other areas of the curriculum: one size may not fit all. In class oral situations, such as story or circle time, children with learning difficulties may not understand how to proceed; gifted and talented children may become bored. Both groups start to withdraw.

Opportunities need to be created for these children to be involved in separate work, ideally in small groups with others of similar ability. Skills acquired here will then feed back into whole-class situations.

Gifted and talented children

1. All change!

Read aloud an exciting story. Afterwards, test memories with the ‘all change!’ game. In twos, one partner starts retelling the story quickly. After one minute, call ‘All change!’ Partners reverse roles, the other partner continuing the story. After a minute, change speaking roles again, and so on. Are the children remembering all the details from the story and in the correct sequence? Use another story. Do their listening skills improve?

gifted and talented

2. Fictional characters

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