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Word recall

Getting started

Open Word Recall Games: Level 1 to 7 and show it as a 'slideshow' so that you click to go from screen to screen.

You will need a copy of a record sheet before you start to complete for each child each time they play.


  • There are 7 levels (referred to as "spans" on the activity sheets) for the children to work through over the whole of the activity time.
  • Each of the levels has 9 'trials'.
  • A trial is made up of one sentence for level 1, two sentences for level 2, three sentences for level 3 and so on up to seven sentences for level 7.
  • The first level starts with one sentence each time. This is where children start so they get the sense of the activity. Please ensure that children work through all levels and don’t miss any out.


  • The child is shown the first picture and told a sentence by the teacher to describe the picture; the child has to say whether the sentence is 'true' or 'false'. There is a space to record the answer on the recording sheet.
  • The children are told to remember the last word of the sentence. You might be signing the sentences to the child and they may be signing the words when they rehearse. In this case, it is important that the last word which we want them to rehearse and remember is clear to them. This is easier with Sign Supported English (SSE) as the word order is the same in English and SSE. If you are using British Sign Language (BSL) you need to make sure that you know which was the last sign you used. In order to do make sure that you know this, write an English gloss of the signed sentence, as you would sign it, and follow it in BSL when you run this task.
  • Now you explain rehearsal strategy to them to help them with recall.

Rehearsal strategy to be taught

  • Each time they have a word to remember, they need to be told to say it or sign it repeatedly to themselves: e.g. 'shoelaces, shoelaces, shoelaces…'
  • When they have had time to rehearse like this, you then click for the next slide. The '?' slide appears and the child has to recall the last word of the sentence.
  • If they recall correctly, they get a score on the record sheet. If they recall incorrectly, they score 0. The recall for level 1 is not too difficult as it aims to enable children to learn the task and procedure. They will probably move quickly to level 2.
  • Each time you say or sign the sentence, they must answer whether it is true or false. You write true (T) or false (F) according to their reply, move on to the recall and then record which word they recalled.
  • When they have scored four by getting 4 trials correct, they have passed this level and can move on to the next.
  • If they are not able to get four out of the nine possible attempts correct in one go, then this level is repeated the next time you do the activity.

Level 2

  • In this level, the children will have two sentences and therefore two words to remember. The final word of the second sentence is added to the recall list, following the word from the first sentence. e.g. 'shoelaces, fish…shoelaces, fish...'
  • The child is encouraged to repeat the words several times and to assign each word they are rehearsing to a finger, so they can get the two words in the correct order when they recall. Rehearsal is the key strategy.
  • In the task, children are asked at regular intervals, via a slide: 'What helps you remember?'.
  • If they have not managed to recall correctly, then this question makes them think about the strategy they need to use.
  • If they have been successful, this question makes them reflect on what they did to achieve success.


  • When you run the activity, if the child has considered the truth of a sentence but made an error, saying 'true' when it should be 'false', it is not important to correct them, because this will interfere with the memory process.
  • We are asking the child to do two things: to manipulate some information at the same time as storing other information, which is what many classroom tasks demand.
  • Of course, if a child is consistently just saying 'true' all the way through without really considering the answer, then they need to be encouraged to answer as accurately as possible.

Teacher feedback

  • Teacher feedback is vital in this task.
  • If a child cannot recall the words, they must be encouraged to think about and explain the strategy they need to use.
  • 'Well done!' does not appear as a slide if they recall the words correctly, in case some children have not managed this. Therefore any positive feedback has to come from the teacher.
  • If they get the words in the wrong order, it is not correct and they need to remember to rehearse in the correct order. This is why the use of fingers that are assigned to each word can be helpful. This helps children to rehearse the list and know how many items they need to recall.
  • The recording sheet for their responses enables you to keep track of where each child needs to start the next session.
  • If they get some trials correct, some incorrect, that's fine. When they have four out of the possible nine correct, they move to the next level. If they don't reach this, they repeat the level.
  • Keeping an appropriate level of challenge is essential. You will see if the child is ready to move to the next level, as they will quickly get four trials correct.

Alternative sentences

  • All children will get to a level where they need several attempts to get the required four trials correct. This is to be expected.
  • You will find below an alternative set of sentences for levels two to six, (labelled 2b, 3b etc.). This enables the children to work with new sentences and pictures if they have repeated a level several times, to prevent the challenge from becoming too repetitive.

Alternative games & record sheets

Additional web based games.