Children love to talk. These free printable conversation cards are a fun way to encourage your kindergarten kids to practice talking and listening. Perfect for morning meeting, closing circle, transitions, and circle time. These free prompts will stimulate amazing conversations in any classroom!
I think it is safe to say, that as an educator you are interested in helping your Kinders learn how to read and write. You are not alone. Try searching on Pinterest for kindergarten literacy activities. You’ll find thousands of worksheets and games. These include everything from compound word puzzles, to sight word activities, to literacy games. It is fantastic.
Yet, there is one thing conspicuously missing in the search results. The lack of activities designed to encourage a talk rich classroom.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO GET CHILDREN SPEAKING AND LISTENING?
Here’s the thing, literacy for younger learners begins with speaking and listening. Oral language provides the foundation for reading and writing. Studies indicate that children need to hear language spoken before they can read. They ALSO they need to speak it themselves.
Language brain circuits develop in the brains of young children as they learn to speak. Reading and writing builds on those circuits. Young learners need hear the sounds of words (and use them often) before they can start to read them.
Of course, some children come from talk rich families. There is plenty of opportunity for children to engage in conversation with parents and siblings. Others do not. We need to try and help those children catch up to their peers.
That is why we find speaking and listening standards in the English Language common core.
We want to give our students the chance to practice speaking and listening in the classroom. They can also benefit from and enjoy collaborative conversations.
SOME SIMPLE SPEAKING AND LISTENING ACTIVITIES
Speaking and listening activities include things you are probably doing already. Such as
- Word games and circle time activities. Both of these give students the chance to practice talking and listening.
- Small group work that encourages cooperation and discussion
- Reading aloud to children and/or asking them to retell the story back to you.
- Fingerplays, songs, and rhyming play
- A storytelling center that encourages children to retell stories (or tell their own).
- Puppet play
- Imaginative play
This month we have created a series of free conversation cards that you can use in circle time or small groups. These conversation starters will help students practice talking and listening. It also give you a chance to get to know them better.
The freebie includes 12 conversation cards to promote discussions between students. In addition, there are 6 editable blank cards that allow you create your own questions. Students may also enjoy coming up with their own conversation prompts.
Printable Let’s Talk about sign, and conversation cards (below)
GETTING THE CARDS READY
- Download the free file (below).
- Add your own questions if you wish. If you want to use the same font, you will need to download Abeezee and install it.
- Print the sign and conversation cards onto card stock. You can laminate for durability if you wish.
- Cut apart the conversation cards and place them in a handy container.
- Invite students to sit in the circle and show them the Let’s Talk About sign. Read it aloud and then place it in the middle of the circle
- Bring out the container of cards. Let the kids pick a question. Read the card aloud and invite students to take turns answering the question.
Teachers Tip: Is this is your first conversation circle? Invite your students to brainstorm things that good listeners and talkers do. Some examples would be
- Good listeners look at the speaker and pay attention.
- Great speakers speak clearly.
- Fabulous listeners wait until the other person has finished speaking before saying something.
- Wonderful speakers speak and then give other people a turn.
COMMON CORE STANDARDS COVERED BY THIS ACTIVITY
- Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion).
- Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
- Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges.
- Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.
- Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.
MORE ORAL LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES
- Encourage children to find a partner and play rhyming puzzles together. They will have to slisten to each other say the word aloud. Then they will work together to find the matching puzzle pieces (discussion).
- Would You Rather Questions For Kids– This fun conversation game will get your Kinders laughing and talking.
- Pattern Writing
- Fairy Tale Wooden Spoon Puppets to help students retell classic fairy tales
- Rhyming Activities For Kindergarten
What oral language activities do you do with your students? How do you encourage your class to practice listening and speaking?