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Primary>Beginners in Key Stage 2
Support strategies for beginners in English at KS 2

Quick Ideas

  • filling in gaps in sentences

  • labelling activities: diagrams, sketches and pictures in English and/or first language

  • sorting activities: listing key words in alphabetical order; writing ‘true’ or ‘false’ about a sentence

  • sequencing activities: sketches/drawings and key words/sentences

  • copy key sentences that contain the main ideas of the lesson, for example the five key points of the lesson

  • dictionary exercises using both English and dual language dictionaries

  • matching activities : sentence halves; sketches/drawings with words and phrases; key words and definitions

  • copy key words from board or a prepared sheet of key words and phrases to translate and refer to

  • re-ordering sentences based on topic

  • compiling a picture glossary of vocabulary related to the subject
  • Find cultural contexts for learning that are relevant to pupils’ background and language

  • Encourage communication rather than accuracy

  • Provide plenty of opportunities for paired and group work

  • Adapt homework assignments: the pupil may translate key vocabulary, label bilingually, translating key points in L1
  • Display key vocabulary around the classroom

  • Help the pupil compile a picture dictionary of vocabulary related to the subject

  • Pre-teach key vocabulary. Before introducing a new topic provide the pupils with key word lists or worksheets with key words highlighted.

  • Send home a topic book or worksheet for preparation. Pupils can familiarise themselves with the vocabulary, look up meanings, note these down in the word-book and discuss it with their family.

  • Highlight key vocabulary on worksheets

  • Reinforce with games, glossaries, word searches and cross words

  • Provide annotated diagrams and combine with visual cloze activities as reinforcement

Speaking and listening
  • Speak slowly but make sure that normal intonation and stress patterns do not become distorted

  • Pause often to allow students to process what they hear

  • Seat pupil in front of the class pupil with clear access to teacher and visuals

  • Provide as much visual support a s possible – objects, pictures, gestures, facial expressions

  • Do not worry if the pupil does not participate. The pupil may undergo an initial silent phase. This is an essential part of acquiring another language

  • Provide a paper copy of key words to be used in an explanation/instruction and send home for translation prior to activity: ensure that the key words are entered into an indexed glossary

  • Create a positive environment where the pupil feels confident in asking, and responding to questions. Ask closed questions in the earlier stages

  • Establish how the child has learnt to read in the first language –build on strategies the child already has

  • Initially an emphasis on phonic reading material may be confusing
  • Reading in English needs to be at a much simpler level while reading in L1 needs to be maintained

  • Pre-read class text with either parent/sibling or TA so that key vocabulary is understood

  • Provide simple texts with story tapes for listening to

  • Time table a regular slot when the pupil can use software such as Oxford Reading Tree Talking Stories

  • Select texts with visual support where possible

  • Provide key sentences to understand main themes, ideas and characterisation. Encourage pupil to use a translation website in class to help with comprehension

  • Support pupils in class by modifying texts-e.g. by using shorter sentences, summarising texts, highlighting main points on IWB, presenting texts as pictures/diagrams etc


The pupil can:

  • Copy key points of lesson in English and translate for homework

  • Write something relevant to the lesson in the first language and translate for homework

  • Trace or draw pictures, maps /diagrams. Label these with words, phrases or short sentences supplied by you, and /or label bilingually.

  • Provide tables/matrix/flow charts/timelines so that the pupil may record a limited amount of information.

  • Copy sentences by choosing one of two alternatives
  • Answer simple questions with yes/no answers. Later this can be extended to a phrase

  • Sequence pictures and/or text to form a short continuous piece of writing



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