Providing children with an authentic reason to talk is a great start, but, as we have seen, it needs to be complemented by approaches which scaffold language and actively teach component skills.

Take circle time as an example. It can be an excellent way of giving children a reason to talk, and encouraging quieter children to participate through the use of games and rounds. It has also, however, been criticised as a language-learning opportunity because it does not allow for dialogue between the teacher and the individual pupil. The teacher may not comment on or expand what the child has said, or ask the question that takes them to a higher level of thinking. Teacher-pupil dialogic talk may be absent. So as well as the opportunity provided by the circle, it might be necessary to build in teacher response and also think about the scaffolding provided by sentence starters for rounds – ‘If I were a … I would…’ – to scaffold the language of the hypothetical, for example. It might also be necessary for the teacher to introduce and model new vocabulary for the children to use.