Primary Talk is a programme that supports the communication development of all children aged 4-11, including those with speech, language, and communication needs (SLCN). The programme has been shown to have a substantial impact on classroom practice and can help schools improve pupil outcomes.
The programme is aimed at supporting communication and it gives the staff the skills needed to create a communication supportive environment and identify those with SLCN.
What are the benefits of Primary Talk?
Primary Talk can develop outstanding practice in communication by:
- Developing the spoken language skills that support learning across the curriculum, including reading and writing.
- Providing a range of classroom strategies that focus on developing listening and attention skills, vocabulary and the use of visual tools to support spoken language.
- Developing pupils' behaviour for learning by staff being able to identify those children whose underlying communication difficulties lead to poor behaviour.
- Developing the social aspects of learning - making friends, working in groups, and building relationships.
Talk Boost is a structured and robustly evidenced programme that can boost a child's communication by an average of 18 months after a 10 week intervention. Language delay can significantly impact children's attainment. Many of these children have the potential to catch up but only if they receive timely intervention.
Teachers will identify the needs of their classes as a whole and choose a focus for each term. The stems (below) encourage communication, seeking help, improving vocabulary, and good listening skills.
Your children will be able to tell you about many of these stems already, they are a fantastic talking point and skills such as good listening, talking in a group and saying when you don't understand something can be useful to put into practice at home too.
Good Listening Skills
Make it clear what we mean when we say 'good listening'. Practice and reinforce the good listening behaviours:
- Look at the speaker.
- Try to keep still.
- Think about the same thing.
Saying when you don't understand something
- Children should know that it's okay to ask for help.
- Teach children to use a set phrase when they don't understand e.g 'Can you say that again please?'.
- Praise children when they remember to say the phrase.
Children need time to understand language and think about their answers. You could use:
- Think time.
- Think- pair- share/ talking with a partner.
- 'No hands up'.
- Pre-warning of questions.
- Questions to named individuals.
Talking in a group (with an adult)
Children need to be shown and given supported opportunities to work with others to develop effective skills. Basic group skills include:
- Looking at the speaker.
- Listening to others.
- Taking turns and not interrupting.
- Asking when you don't understand something.
Using visual support for tasks and routine
- Use pictures, symbols, and/or grids to reinforce instructions, reminders, or rules.
- Show children how to use the visual supports so that they can work more independently.
Targeting and praising spoken language skills
- Plan a spoken language target alongside lesson objectives.
- Share it in child-friendly language.
- in the lesson plenary, consider if the children have done it - they can evaluate themselves.
- Keep in mind - what is the purpose of your question?
- Some questions involve more complex language, both for understanding and for answering.
- Plan key questions in advance.
Vocabulary: repetition and visual methods
- Repeat new words.
- Link new words with prior knowledge.
- Use meanings, associations, and word sounds to help children make more links.
- Help children to work together, prompting them with suitable language.
- Use sentence starters eg. 'I like this character because...'
- Show children how to extend what they've said - depending on ability level use a full sentence, or add more description, or an embedded phrase.
Asking for clarification
- It's okay to ask for help.
- Teach children to use a set phrase to clarify when things don't make sense, eg. 'I don't know that word' or 'I can't remember all those words'.
- Praise children when they remember to use the phrase(s).
Vocabulary: core and extension
- 'Words we need to know' (Tier 2) often get overlooked.
- They can be applied across different subjects.
Talking with a partner
- Make sure the children have a specific task, question or outcome to discuss.
- Give them a time limit.
- Make it clear that they'll have to report back on what they discuss.
Lets Get Talking at Home!
We want the children at Rowanfield to talk, talk, talk!
‘If children can’t say it, they can’t read it, if children can’t read it, they won’t be able to write it.’
Helping children to explore language (vocabulary), listening and communicating is an essential part to their learning. We would love for this learning to continue at home and would encourage family time and just time to talk with the children. Below are some question suggestions for families to explore possibly around the dinner or breakfast table, on the walk to school or on a car journey.
- Would you rather have a lion or a monkey as a pet? (the options could be swapped for anything you want)
- What makes you happy and why?
- What would you change if you made the rules at home and why?
- Do you eat or drink soup?
- If you were a superhero, what special powers would you have and how would you use them?
- If you were stranded on a desert island what three things would you want to have with you?
- In 100 years’ time, what would you want to be remembered for?