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Speech and Language in the Classroom

The Blog

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Book review: Talk the Big Talk

'Big Writing: Talk the Big Talk' by Ros Wilson (2012)

A resource book for schools to support laying the foundations for the Big Writing initiative.

This book introduces the importance of developing talk for writing with this opening line,

“If a child can’t SAY it, a child can’t WRITE it’.

This book highlights throughout the important link between talking and literacy (writing), which as they explain, is being emphasised within recent government publications (National Curriculum).

It provides lots of clear advice and examples of how to model and extend children’s spoken sentences, in the lead up to and during learning to write.

I particularly like the Talk Homework suggestions for discussions around the dinner table.

There are some lovely ideas within the school case study at the back of the book, Conversation Lunches being one.

And an idea which made me smile… the conservation area that turned in to the conversation area! This happened in response to the children’s use of the outside area, as the school commented, “There is something about that outdoor experience that frees up children’s voices, voices not confined by four walls.” The children started calling it the conversation area! This reminds me of the ‘places to talk’ idea from Time to Talk (Gross, 2013, see our review here).

All in all, a fab resource for schools, that highlights the importance of supporting talk for writing.

Sarah Wall, Speech & Language Therapist

Thursday, 13 November 2014

How To Improve Our Listening Skills - Listen To Treasure

I was browsing TED Talks the other day, and came across some fantastic talks that I need to share with you all.

Sound expert Julian Treasure (Twitter @juliantreasure) has stood on the TED stage five times, to tell us all about his research into sound in the environment, how it is damaging our health, and how we can work to improve our listening skills.

In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, "We are losing our listening."

If you only watch one, make it his 2012 talk called 'Why architects need to use their ears'. He talks about listening in the classroom, and how pupils may be missing up to 50% of what their teacher says because of sound disturbance. Every teacher needs to watch this video!

Because of poor acoustics, students in classrooms miss 50 percent of what their teachers say and patients in hospitals have trouble sleeping because they continually feel stressed.

When training teachers and teaching assistants to use our packages, we talk a lot about listening skills, how listening is a skill which is not really ever 'taught' to our pupils. In Jean Gross' book (see our recent review here) she shows how listening, which we use the most, is taught the least. Writing, which in daily life we actually use the least, is taught the most in our classrooms.

Sarah Wall, Speech & Language Therapist, Speech Link Multimedia Ltd.

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