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Language and Communication Four word phrases  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


Strings together four words to convey meaning.

Early years skill:Speaking
Early years typical range:40-60+m
P-scales/Curriculum skill:English Speaking
P-scales/Curriculum level:P8
TAP skill:Expressive Language
TAP level:TAP48
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Act out a simple story with miniature people

Use an event retell sheet with columns for 'who', 'what', 'when', 'where'.

Simple everyday stories, for example:

'Going to the shops to buy new red shoes, nearly not finding red shoes, happiness at finding them at last'

'going out to play in the rain and jumping in puddles. Mum is cross'

'playing football with Dad and Dad kicks the ball into a tree'

'going on the bus on the bus and loosing teddy. Finding him next day at the bus station'.

Tell a story to the child using miniature people, some eg's in next column.

Get the child to retell the story to you. This works well in a small group or in a one to one situation.

Use a retell sheet to help the child answer 'wh' questions about the story. The child can write the answers and/or draw a picture. The child can read the story back to an adult.

Remember to give children enough time to produce the language you want.

Use the figures or pictures as a prompt to get the language you want.

Barrier games

Barrier games designed to elicit 4 word phrases e.g. Black Sheet programme

Follow the instructions for using the barrier games.


Photo copy a book which has clear pictures and not too many pages.

Cut out the text.

Put the sheets back as a book and 'read' it with the child.

You may like to act the story out as well with relevant miniature figures.

Can the child 'read' the book back to you? Prompt 'reading' by starting a phrase off if needed.

Use a story retell sheet if necessary to prompt retelling.

If a child is struggling say it for the child 'as he would if he could', then ask the child to produce the phrase again without your language model.

Digital camera record of school trips or games in the play ground

Photo play times. Discuss the photos with the child .Can the child describe what is happening using 4 words? Prompt with a starting few words if needed.

Use the story retell sheet if needed.

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