Speaking: What do children have to do?

In this resource the sections Help in the home for your child who stammers and How to help your child's learning provide information for developing at home your child's confidence in communicating, so that he will be better able to participate in speaking and listening activities at school. When he has had the chance to build up these skills he will find primary school oral tasks less stressful and be more likely to have the confidence to contribute and achieve. The standards of attainment in speaking and listening activities are assessing complex skills The demands on your child will be less if he has had some practice in these skills at pre-school and in the home. This may help him to manage his speech.

Speaking and listening activities in the classroom

Lessons must be planned to provide opportunities for pupils to listen and respond to different speakers - including friends, the whole class and a range of adults, as well as to radio and TV broadcasts. When appropriate teachers are expected to make use of non-verbal cues including illustrations, models and actions.


In developing their skills in speaking, children need to learn to:

  • adapt their speaking to different audiences, such as the class, the teacher, other adults; with different levels of formality, such as with friends, to another class, in assembly;
  • for different purposes, such as recounting events and telling stories, explaining and describing, justifying views and persuading others.
  • put thoughts into words and share them in groups;
  • take opportunities to speak at some length to explain ideas in different situations;
  • give a talk or presentation using gestures, aids, rhetorical devices.

When they are speaking they should:

  • make eye contact with listeners
  • speak clearly and audibly
  • use facial expression and gesture to emphasise points and refer to objects and places
  • use precise and persuasive words to convey meaning and hold listeners' attention
  • make meaning clear, organising ideas in a helpful order and making links between them
  • respond to others' contributions by adding or elaborating on them or by putting across another view

These oral skills are a significant part of the English curriculum but in every subject taught they will be drawn upon and developed, as it is now recognised that talking is the foundation for learning in all subjects.

Information for teachers: BSA:Education-Oral Tasks.

Click on the following links to open a PDF, use the back button on your browser to return to this resource. To save the handout to your computer, right click and choose 'Save as'.

Text for this page: Speaking: What do children have to do?
Text for this whole section: What is taught in a primary school