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  • Speaking andSpeaking andSpeaking andSpeaking andSpeaking and

    Listening GamesListening GamesListening GamesListening GamesListening Games

    Margaret Curran

    Brilliant Publications

  • Published by Brilliant Publicationswebsite: www.brilliantpublications.co.uk

    The name Brilliant Publications and its logo areregistered trademarks.

    SalesBEBC (Brilliant Publications)Albion Close, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset, BH12 3LL, UKTel: 01202 712910 Fax: 0845 1309300email: brilliant@bebc.co.uk

    EditorialUnit 10, Sparrow Hall Farm, Edlesborough, Dunstable,Bedfordshire LU6 2ES

    Written by Margaret CurranIllustrated by Lynda MurrayCover design and illustration by Lynda Murray

    Printed in the UK

    ISBN 978 1 903853 56 6 Margaret CurranFirst published in 2004, reprinted 2007.10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2The right of Margaret Curran to be identified as theauthor of this work has been asserted by her inaccordance with the Copyright, Design and Patents Act1988.

    Pages 61112 may be photocopied by individualteachers for class use, without permission from thepublisher. The materials may not be reproduced in anyother form or for any other purpose without the priorwritten permission of the publisher.

  • Contents

    Introduction 4Guidelines for teachers 5Materials 6

    Listening andAttentionIdentifying everyday sounds 7Identifying objects according to sound 7Listening to rhythm 8Identifying action sounds 8Listening to speech sounds 9Identifying sounds in words 10Locating sound 11Listening for key words 12Listening to musical sounds 14Associating movement with sound 14Rhyming words 15Musical chairs 16Whos got what? 17Same and different sounds 17Same and different words 18Break up words 19Put sounds together 20Syllable clapping 21Complete the word 22Think of a rhyming word 23

    UnderstandingLanguageCarrying out simple commands 24Carrying out simple actions 25Understanding a short story 26Understanding prepositions 26Simple Simon 27Objects in the box 27Correcting grammatical absurdities 28Correcting semantic absurdities 29Going to the shop 30Treasure hunt 30Understanding comparatives 31

    Understanding shape and colour 32Whats in the box? 32Chinese whispers 33Recall commands 33Draw it 34Understanding body language and emotions 34Interpreting actions 35True or false? 1 36True or false? 2 37

    Expressive LanguageIntroductions 38The detective game 38Picture description 39Categories 1 40Categories 2 41Guess the object 42Where is the ? 43Things that go together 44Associations 45Themes 45Recall a short story 46Real situations 46Sentence completion 48Story completion 49What should you do when? 50Think of a similar word for 51Think of the opposite 52Why do people? 53Word chain 54Sentence chain 54What comes first? 55Associated action words 56Explain why 57News time 58Words beginning with 58Fill in the missing word 59Nonverbal communication (charades) 60

    Photocopiable sheets 61111Assessment form 112

    3Speaking and Listening Games Margaret Curran

  • Listening and Attention

    4 Speaking and Listening Games Margaret Curran


    This book is aimed at providing teachers of preschool and primaryschool children with access to language activities that are easilyadministered and at the same time beneficial.

    The ability of children to acquire language is unique. However, itshould not be forgotten that environmental factors play an importantrole. We cannot expect children to perform at a high level of ability inany area when they have not been given the opportunity to acquire theskill in the first place. The activities in this book are aimed at providinginteractive language experiences that allow the children to enjoydeveloping verbal and listening skills.

    This book will assist teachers to address all aspects of language and willprovide opportunities for the children to acquire skills that are buildingblocks for the future.

    There should be a fun element to all the activities and although you canencourage some competition amongst the children, the emphasis shouldnot be on winning or losing, but rather on participation.

    Listening and AttentionListening and AttentionListening and AttentionListening and AttentionListening and AttentionListening and attention skills are a prerequisite to language acquisition.The games in this section are designed to improve listening skills byencouraging children to attend to, concentrate on and identify sounds.Use is made of everyday sounds and speech sounds.

    Understanding LanguageUnderstanding LanguageUnderstanding LanguageUnderstanding LanguageUnderstanding LanguageUnderstanding the spoken word is fundamental to a childs ability toacquire expressive language. Difficulty in understanding the spokenword can lead to problems in a number of different areas, includinglimited expressive language skills, behavioural problems and poor socialskills. The activities in this section are designed to assist you indeveloping receptive language ability in the classroom. Most activitiesrequire a basic level of understanding. Options are given if you wish tomake the tasks more complex.

    Expressive LanguageExpressive LanguageExpressive LanguageExpressive LanguageExpressive LanguageExpressive language is the means by which we communicate with othersand express our needs, desires, feelings and emotions. Children withlimited expressive language skills will encounter difficulties in theirsocial skills, emotional development and learning abilities. The activitiesin this section are designed to assist in the development of expressivelanguage skills in the classroom and will help to expand vocabulary,stimulate sentence construction and social interactions and improveconfidence in verbal expression.

  • Listening and Attention

    5Speaking and Listening Games Margaret Curran

    Guidelines for teachers

    1. The games are best played with small groups; a maximum of tenchildren is recommended. Larger numbers mean that the extent ofparticipation of each child is limited and it may also be moredifficult to prevent some children from dominating. You need tocontrol the game while allowing some spontaneity and ensure thatall children are given an equal chance to contribute.

    2. Most games allow for a level of competition and in some cases ascoring system can be introduced. You must decide on whether toadd a competitive element to the game. This depends on the abilityof all the children to participate equally. If some children find aparticular activity difficult then it is preferable not to use a scoringsystem.

    3. The games are not specifically designed for remedial purposes butrather to stimulate language skills in children whose level of speechand language development is within normal limits. If you suspectthat a child might have a specific speech or language disorder, youshould recommend assessment by a speech and language therapist.

    4. All the games are suitable for preschool and primary children. Youmay however find that some games are more successful than others.Some games such as Listening to speech sounds (page 9) andIdentifying sounds in words (page 10) can not be completed at onesession. Others can be repeated several times and still be beneficialto the children. You must use your own judgment in this regard.

    5. Most materials are supplied or should be easily accessible in theclassroom. The written materials supplied should be used as aguideline and you may prefer to use your own materials. Theamount of preparation time needed for each game is minimal andonly one game (Identifying everyday sounds, page 7) needs specificpreparation (the recording of everyday sounds).

    6. Encouragement for correct responses should be given at all timeseven if a scoring system is being used. Positive reinforcement plays avery important role in building confidence. The children can alsobe encouraged to recognise each others responses and applaud goodor correct answers.

    7. The chapters are not set out in any specific order. You may chooseto do a listening activity one day and an expressive activity the next.Within each chapter there is no specific order in relation to degreeof difficulty. You may choose to play the games in the orderpresented in the book, or else randomly select a game of yourchoice.

  • Listening and Attention

    6 Speaking and Listening Games Margaret Curran

    8. The games are intended for preschool and lower primary children,ranging in age from 3 years to 8 years. However, many olderchildren will also benefit from these games. Younger children mayfind some of the games difficult or give limited responses. You musthave at all times realistic expectations of the children and be able toadapt each activity to suit the needs of all children in the group.

    9. You will probably find it preferable for the children to sit on thefloor for most activities. To participate in Understanding shape andcolour (page 32) and Draw it (page 34) the children need to sit attheir tables/desks. You must use your own judgment in regard towhat seating arrangement works best for each game.

    10. Many games combine both receptive and expressive skills. Somegames listed as Understanding Language also require a certain levelof expressive language competence. Before commencing with anylanguage games in this book you should be familiar with thelanguage skills of all the children in order that your expectations inregard to responses are realistic.


    1. Most picture material is provided (see photocopiable sheets 61111). You will need to cut out the pictures prior to the game, backthem with cardboard and if possible cover them with contact paper.This will make it easier for the children to handle them and theywill also last longer. All the pictures on the sheets are identified onthe teachers pages, next to the relevant activities.

    2. You may wish to substitute or add your own picture material. In thecase of some games new material is desirable if the game is to beplayed on a number of occasions.

    3. Written material is provided for a number of the games. You willfind this next to the relevant activities. You can also use your ownmaterial if you wish to repeat the game or to add variety. You mayalso need to adapt the material to suit the individual requirementsof your pupils.

    4. Some of the games require a certain amount of preparation. Forothers you will need to resource your own material. In the case of allactivities you must familiarise yourself with how the game is playedand also with the materials themselves.

    5. An assessment form is given on page 112 to help you to make bestuse of the games in the book.

  • Listening and Attention

    7Speaking and Listening Games Margaret Curran

    car horn

    food mixer

    radio washingmachine

    door bell


    Sheet 1


    opening afizzy drink


    lighting amatch

    cutting aslice ofbread


    Sheet 2

    Identifying everyday sounds

    Materials requiredTape recorder and recording of everyday sounds: car horn, vacuumcleaner, washing machine, door bell, food mixer, radio, etc. Picturesrepresenting each sound (Sheets 12, pages 6162).

    How to playSit the children in a semicircle and place the pictures representing thevarious sounds on the floor in front of them. Play one of the recordedsounds and nominate a child to identify the sound by picking up thecorresponding picture. Ensure that the other children remain silentwhile the sound is being played and the child is selecting a picture.

    The game may be played more than once giving each child a differentsound to identify. You could also encourage the children to suggestother household or everyday sounds that are not represented on the tapeand allow them to imitate and identify them.

    VariationsThe game can be played without using the pictures. Add whatever newsounds you feel are appropriate.

    Identifying objects according to sound

    Materials requiredBell, drum, crumpled paper, aerosol spray, rattle, squeaky toy, whistle,glass of water with straw, etc.

    How to playStart with three or four objects at a time. Sit the children on the floor ina semicircle around the objects. Demonstrate the sound that each objectmakes and allow the children to handle the objects.

    Ask the children to close their eyes and face away from the objects.Make a sound with one of the objects and nominate a child to turnaround and identify it. Give each child a couple of turns. Giveencouragement for each correct response.

    VariationsTo make the activity more difficult, ask for the identification of twosounds in the correct order.

  • Listening and Attention

    8 Speaking and Listening Games Margaret Curran

    Listening to rhythm

    Materials requiredDrum and drum stick.

    How to playPlay simple rhythms on the drum and ask the children to imitate them.Start with simple combinations of up to three beats, eg one slow beatthen two quick. After each rhythm has been played nominate one childto repeat it.

    Longer combinations can also be played two quick beats followed bythree slow, or one slow, two quick and one slow. Give each child at leasttwo turns. If a child makes an error, repeat the rhythm and give thechild a second or third chance. You may find that certain childrenperform better at this activity than others, in which case shortercombinations can be played to some children and longer combinationsto others.

    VariationsUse hand clapping instead of drum beating.

    Identifying action sounds

    Materials requiredNone.

    How to playIn this activity you will need to perform various actions that thechildren must identify and imitate. A variety of actions can beperformed such as coughing, sneezing, clapping, foot tapping, yawning,eating, moving a chair, etc. Actions that can be easily imitated by thechildren are best. Before starting the activity, demonstrate all the actions.

    Ensure that the children close their eyes and turn away so that the actioncannot be seen. After the action has been performed, ask the children toface you and nominate one child to identify the sound and imitate it.

    VariationsTo add a degree of difficulty to the game, perform two actions for thechild to identify in the correct order and imitate.

  • Listening and Attention

    9Speaking and Listening Games Margaret Curran

    Sounds to be targeted

    Consonants Vowelsp ah (car)b e (wet))t i (it)d o (cot)k u (luck)g ay (say)f ee (key)v i (why)s oo (soon)z ow (cow)h oh (low)chjshlwmnng (sing)y (yacht)th (thin)th (the)

    Listening to speech sounds

    Materials requiredList of sounds to be targeted (see left hand column).

    How to playAsk the children to listen to and then repeat sounds (consonants andvowels) in isolation. Demonstrate first by giving examples. Produce onlyone sound at a time and ask the children to repeat it. Note if any childhas difficulty with a particular sound, as assessment by a speechtherapist may be indicated.

    VariationsTo add a degree of difficulty, do the same activity with your hand overyour mouth so that no visual clues are given.

    Making each sound softly will add a further degree of difficulty.

  • Listening and Attention

    10 Speaking and Listening Games Margaret Curran

    Identifying sounds in words

    Materials requiredPictures of everyday objects (Sheet...


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