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Hillside Infant School

Hillside Infant School

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Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening


Speaking and listening skills need to be developed as part of the literacy continuum that goes from speaking to reading and then writing. Being able to listen and attend to the spoken word  is a prerequisite for learning.



  • To ensure that we have an accurate understanding of each child’s language skills and make appropriate provision for them.
  • To provide stimulating and exciting opportunities to encourage the use and development of language.
  • To model and visually represent ambitious and subject specific vocabulary as well as correct grammatical structure.
  • To provide children with the tools to communicate effectively, speak with increasing confidence, clarity and fluency.
  • For children to listen carefully in discussion making contributions and asking questions.



Children's language skills are assessed upon entry to nursery (in home language if possible) and are tracked throughout the academic year. The children are taught phase 1 phonics which concentrates on developing their speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.  In Nursery, the children use box clever to  improve their speaking and listening skills in their key group.  The programme helps develop vocabulary, use of sentences, story-telling skills and confidence in communication.  


On Entry to Reception, children's receptive language is assessed using language link.  Language link assesses children on their understanding of language used in the classroom. They continue with listening skills in Phonics in order to identify sounds in words to help them with their reading and writing.  Reception classes focus on language daily through a variety of activities.  These include using sign-along to learn positional language and developing vocabulary through word association games and activities.  


In all year groups there are opportunities for discussions in pairs, groups or as a whole class throughout the day.   Children have the opportunities to perform in assemblies and productions in addition to watching professional performances. 


Hillside Infant School use talk4writing across the whole school to enable children opportunities to retell and act out stories as well as provide opportunities in all lessons for children to read their work aloud and share their learning. We provide opportunities for role-play and other drama activities across the school. 


Children listen to class stories daily and have opportunities to answer questions about what is happening within the story.  Teachers model excellent spoken English and where possible extend vocabulary.