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Language and Communication To follow sequenced 4 to 5 key word instructions  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


To follow verbal instructions of 4 to 5 key words, that involve a sequence of steps.

Early years skill:Understanding
Early years typical range:40-60+m
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum skill:English Listening
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum level:P8
TAP skill:Language Understanding
TAP level:TAP48
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; 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
Barrier Worksheets

A picture to colour - enough copies for everyone doing the activity, and for the adult too.

Colouring pens / pencils

A big book or folder to make a barrier

Explain that this activity is to practise listening, so the child must listen carefully. You will only say the instruction once.

Give the child / children a sheet (one for everyone) and take one yourself.

Put the barrier up, so that the child cannot see your picture.

Give an instruction telling them to colour part of the picture, and colour it yourself. Make sure the instruction has at least 4 key words, and involves doing one thing before something else. E.g. if you have a picture of a robot you could say: 'Colour the robot's head blue and then colour two shoes red.' The words underlined are the key words, and there are 2 steps to the instruction.

When you have all finished that instruction, hold up your picture, so the children can check if they got it right.

The activity is designed so that the child has to listen to, understand and remember an instruction of 4-5 key words. If you break the instruction up into the different steps, the child will be working with several short instructions instead of one long one. E.g. 'colour the robot's head blue. And then colour two shoes red.' is two instructions not one.

Make sure the child listens to your whole instruction before s/he starts to carry it out.

There is automatic feedback in this activity, as the child will be able to see from your picture if s/he got it right. If s/he got it wrong, s/he will be able to see what the instruction actually was.

Topic vocabulary from e.g. a science topic or a history topic could be used, and simple worksheets created using software such as Clicker or Communicate in Print (see for links to suppliers of this software).

Barrier Patterns

2D shapes in several different colours

Something to use as a barrier

Make sure you say the pattern as one instruction and don't break the instruction up into the different steps. Otherwise the child will be working with several short instructions instead of one long one. E.g. 'A blue circle. A red square. And a triangle' is 3 short instructions.

Make sure the child listens to your whole instruction before s/he starts to carry it out.

You can use almost anything to make patterns - compare bears, mini beasts, small world toys etc.

Pictures of topic vocabulary could be printed out and cut to make cards. The barrier pattern could then be made using a pattern of pictures. E.g. 'fire, fire, bucket of water, diary, diary' (linking to the Fire of London topic).

Simon Says


Make sure the child listens to the whole instruction before doing it.

Make sure that you give the instruction as one long one not several short ones.


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