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Language and Communication build a bank of words around a topic or word feature  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


The child will build a bank of words around a specific topic or feature (e.g. words starting with 'k'). They will start to draw on this knowledge to work out what a secret word is by asking relevant questions with support.

Early years skill:not specified
Early years typical range:not specified
P-scales/Curriculum skill:English Writing
P-scales/Curriculum level:L1a
TAP skill:Writing
TAP level:TAP60
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Primary (5-11yrs) info; Secondary (11-16yrs) info
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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Topic books

Ring binder and paper or some blank exercise books

Topic pictures

Word web (optional)

1. Choose a topic - this can either be curriculum related (at school) or around an activity you will be doing e.g. a trip to the seaside (at home).

2. Explain that you are going to think about all the words you need to talk about that topic.

3. Think about what sort of things you will see and do. You could write these down in a thought shower (let the children make as many suggestions as possible without filtering them at first).

4. Together look for pictures to stick in the book for each word.

5. Write down the word for each picture and think about what it means, what it starts with, how many syllables, what it rhymes with, etc.

You could also do this activity as a collage - to produce a large poster.

You could also do it on the computer, and look for pictures on-line.


Ring binder and paper or some blank exercise books

Pictures of common items or of curriculum items

Word web (optional)

1. This activity is similar to 'Topic Books' above, but words are grouped according to sound rather than meaning.

2. Choose a sound you want to work with first.

3. Explain that you are going to find lots of words that start with that sound.

4. Look through the pictures you have (or an Argos catalogue!) and find items which start with your chosen sound. Cut out the pictures and stick in the book / file.

5. Write the name of the item underneath the picture, and discuss what it does / where you find it.

You could do this activity as a collage, working to make a large poster.

You could also do it on the computer, and look for pictures on-line.


Bingo cards - each with a list of words on it.

A set of definitions of the words (descriptions of what the words mean).

1. Give each child a bingo card.

2. Explain that they need to listen for the definition of what each word on their card means.

3. When they hear you read out the definition for one of their words, they can cross it off their card.

4. The first person to cross off all their words wins!

Alphabet Race

A grid with each letter of the alphabet and a space to write beside each one.


Cards with a different category on each one (e.g. animals, names, clothes, fruit, vegetables, places).

Timer (optional).

1. Give each child or team a grid and a pen.

2. Put the category cards face down, and choose one.

3. Set a timer (allow enough time to think!)

4. Each team needs to write down an item from that category beginning with each letter of the alphabet on their grid.

5. The team with the most accurate answers wins.

You can play this as a round, where the teams swap grids when the timer sounds. For the next round, each team needs to add more words to the grid that was started by a different team. The first team to complete a grid wins.

Topic Trees / Mind Maps

Blank sheet of paper


Cards with different topics on them (optional)

Write the chosen topic in the centre of the paper.

Write associated words or ideas on 'branches' coming off the centre word.

These words and ideas may have further 'branches' off them (E.g. topic may be 'body parts'. One of the branches may be 'face'. 'Face' can have further branches such as 'nose, eyes, mouth' and so on.

You can use a different colour for each set of branches.

What is that Word

Paper, pencil

Cards with prompt questions on them (optional) such as:

How many parts?

How many syllables?

What type of thing is it?

Where do you find it?

What is it used for?

How big is it?

What does it feel like?

What shape is it?

What is the first sound?

What does it rhyme with?

What is the last sound?

Have one person think of a word, and another person, or team of people, try and guess it (the person thinking of the word should secretly write it down - so this can be shown at the end of the round) - they will need to ask questions to try and find out what the word is.

Go over questions which will be useful (see list on the left).

Choose how many questions each team or person is allowed to ask.

Keep going until the allocated number of questions has been asked. If the word is guessed, the 'guesser' wins.


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