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Language and Communication auditory recall of lists and sentences  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


Using strategies to help improve the ability to remember information presented orally

Early years skill:not specified
Early years typical range:not specified
P-scales/Curriculum skill:English Listening
P-scales/Curriculum level:L2b
TAP skill:Understanding of Language/Comprehension
TAP level:TAP68
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Primary (5-11yrs) info
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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
I went to market


1. Have the children sit in a circle;

2. Introduce the game by giving a demonstration of how to play;

3. Go around the circle - each child says 'I went to market and bought...' each child has to recall the items the children before them have said and then add another item;

4. Talk about trying to help memory by repeating the information in their heads as they are waiting for their turn to recall the list.

Best if played with 4 - 8 children.

Encourage the children to repeat the list in their heads to help memory.

Encourage children to link words with the person that said them.

You can also change the types of items - e.g. I went to the pet shop, I went to toys R us, etc.

As the children improve, increase the number of items they need to remember.

Whispered Messages


1. Have the children sit in a circle;

2. One child makes up a sentence and whispers it to the child next to them (so the other children can't hear);

3. The sentence is passed all the way around the circle in this way;

4. The last child says the sentence aloud to see whether it changed as it was passed around.

As the children's skills improve, increase the length and complexity of the sentence (e.g. add in more challenging vocabulary or conjunctions to make the sentence longer).


A range of interesting items or topic vocabulary items


Pictures of topic items or items interesting to the children

1. Spread the items out on the table and check that the children know what they are.

2. Either leave the items on the table or distribute them around the room.

3. Explain that the children will take it in turns to be the 'Magpie' who goes to collect things. The others will take it in turns to tell the 'Magpie' what to collect.

4. When the 'Magpie' brings the items check to see if everything is there. If so, both the 'Magpie' and the child who gives the list get a point.

Encourage the children to repeat the list in their heads to help memory.

Encourage children to link words with the person that said them or to look carefully at where the items are.

Start with 3 items on the list for the 'Magpie' and make the lists longer as the children succeed.

Judge's Decision


Instructions the puppet can do, written out on cards


Whiteboard and pen

Judge's card with 'great' on one side and 'almost' on the other.

1. Explain to the children they will take it in turns to be 'Judge' and also to work the puppet.

2. The puppet must do the instruction it hears. The Judge must watch carefully and at the end hold up 'great' if the puppet got it right, or 'almost' if the puppet did not quite get the instruction right.

3. Either use instructions on cards, or write down the instruction on the whiteboard when you have given it.

4. At the end the puppet operator and the Judge can check what the instruction was.

5. The puppet operator gets a point if they get the instruction right. The Judge gets a point if they give the right 'decision'.

You could let the children take turns giving instructions if they are able to give clear instructions.

Slowly increase the length of instructions.

Instruction Recall


When you give the child an instruction, ask them to tell you what you said.

This can be done in any situation.

Let the child know that you will ask them to do this - it does not mean they are in trouble!

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