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Speak out

Cross-curricular Ages 7 to 11

Teachers often ask how they can support pupils with specific language impairment (SLI) without carrying out therapy programmes.

A useful approach is whole-class narrative building. Following a historyRE lesson, or a science experiment, sequence the past tense events by asking individual pupils to re-cap a single sentence in turn. Digital photos or pictures will cue reluctant speakers.

Next, include the SLI pupil in a small group with a teaching assistant.

Take one of the sentences and go round the group, asking each child to add a word, until it is reconstructed.

Finally, pick another sentence, tell children how many words to listen for and play as Chinese whispers.

These simple activities allow the SLI pupil to practise essential grammar, while remaining "on curriculum". Clicker 5 sentence grids ( would be a useful recording tool

Karen Robinson is an advisory teacher for SLI with Somerset support services

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