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Five key principles to support learning the five components of language

13 July 2021

Attention and listening

  • Make listening an active and explicit process.
  • Provide children with strategies for good listening.
  • Give regular, ongoing and specific feedback.


  • Teach meaning and phonic (letter-sound) makeup.
  • Use the words: repetition and practice in different contexts.
  • Link to current knowledge and make meaningful.

Building sentences

  • Build a solid understanding as well as talking.
  • Target the right level and ‘scaffold’ from there.
  • Model and encourage longer sentences.

Telling stories

  • Focus on the importance of day-to-day narratives and stories.
  • Spoken stories and narratives come before written.
  • Children need clear and explicit narrative structures to support these skills.


  • Focus on verbal and non-verbal elements.
  • Share with children the importance and purpose of conversations.
  • Provide opportunities for conversations, both for social interaction and learning.