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Teaching Primary English: A Complete Guide for Educators

Ibukun Williams

Publish Date: 13 June 2024

Teaching primary English is one of the most rewarding and challenging tasks in the education sector. It lays the foundation for a child’s academic success and lifelong communication skills. In this blog, we will explore various strategies, techniques, and tools to teach primary English effectively. From understanding the basics to addressing diverse learners’ needs, we’ll cover it all.

Understanding the Basics of Primary English

Primary English education contains several core elements: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Each of these areas is important in helping young learners develop a thorough understanding of the language.

Here’s a breakdown of these elements:

  • Speaking and Listening: This involves clear pronunciation, active listening, and conversation engagement.
  • Reading: From recognising letters and sounds to decoding words and comprehending texts, strong reading skills open up a world of knowledge.
  • Writing: Writing empowers children to communicate effectively.  It starts with basic letter formation and ends with expressing ideas in sentences and paragraphs.

The Role of Phonics

Phonics is a fundamental part of primary English. It involves teaching children the relationships between sounds and their corresponding letters or groups of letters. Moreover, this foundational skill helps young learners decode new words and improve their reading fluency. To learn more about phonics teaching you can visit the Unified Course and enrol in our Phonics Teaching Course.

Teaching Primary English

Building Vocabulary

Building a strong vocabulary is significant for young learners. Moreover, introducing new words in context, using visual aids, and engaging in regular practice are effective methods to improve vocabulary.

How do you build an engaging learning environment?

Creating an engaging learning environment for primary English students is key to encouraging their enthusiasm and success. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Ensure the classroom is bright, colourful, and inviting. 
  • Use group discussions, role-playing, and games to make learning fun and interactive.
  • Integrate educational apps, interactive whiteboards, and online resources to improve lessons. 
  • Encourage Reading for Pleasure.
  • Nurture a Growth Mindset.
  • Incorporate Real-World Connections.
  • Connect lessons to real-world experiences using current events and everyday scenarios.
  • Promote Collaboration and Communication.
  • Use Visual Aids and Hands-On Materials.
  • Regularly reflect on teaching practices and seek student feedback.

Assessment and Feedback

Assessment is about understanding where your students are in their learning journey and using that knowledge to guide them forward.  In primary English, effective assessment and feedback should be ongoing, positive, and specific.

Here are some ways to assess your student’s progress and provide helpful feedback:

  • Observation: Pay close attention to how students participate in class discussions, complete activities, and interact with texts. Also, observe their strengths and areas where they might need additional support.
  • Informal Assessments: Use quick quizzes, exit tickets, or short writing prompts to measure understanding of a particular concept.
  • Self-Assessment: Encourage students to reflect on their own learning. Use rubrics or checklists that highlight learning goals and allow students to track their progress.
  • Peer Feedback: In a safe and respectful environment, motivate students to provide constructive feedback to their peers. As a result, this helps them develop critical thinking skills and solidify their own understanding.

Differentiation for diverse learners

Differentiated instruction involves adjusting teaching methods to accommodate different learning styles and abilities. As a result, this approach ensures all students can access the curriculum effectively. Here are some of the other methods you can implement:

Supporting English Language Learners (ELL)

It’s important to provide extra support for students who are learning English as an additional language. Use visual aids, gestures, and simplified language to aid understanding. Pair ELLs with peer buddies who can help them navigate classroom activities. Additionally, providing bilingual resources or translations can be beneficial.

Addressing Special Educational Needs (SEN)

For students with SEN, personalised learning plans and assistive technologies are very important. In addition, support from specialists can make a significant difference. 

Provide Scaffolding

Scaffolding involves giving students the support they need to succeed in learning tasks and gradually reducing this support as they become more independent. This can be done through guided practice, clear instructions, and feedback. Hence, it helps build students’ confidence and skills over time.

How can you professionally develop as a teacher?

Learning is a lifelong journey, and this applies not just to the students but ourselves as well! Continuous professional development is important to stay current with best practices. Here are some ways you can stay sharp and elevate your English teaching with new ideas:

  • Workshops and Courses: Look for workshops or online courses offered by your school district, educational organisations, or universities. These can cover a wide range of topics, from the latest reading strategies to integrating technology in the classroom. 
  • Furthermore, the Unified Course offers the best teaching English course. Additionally, you can enrol in our Primary Teaching Diploma and Teaching Assistant Course to elevate your career in this field. Our courses are CPD-certified and provide a certificate after the end of the course.
  • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs): PLCs play a vital role in professionally developing yourself. Therefore, join or form a PLC where you can share best practices, discuss challenges, and learn from each other’s experiences.
  • Online Resources: Explore websites and blogs dedicated to primary English teaching. Many offer free lesson plans, activity ideas, and articles on the latest trends in education. In fact, our Unified Course provides the best and latest blog on teaching primary English.
  • Books and Journals: Books and journals are the traditional and effective learning method. Moreover, current research and teaching methodologies from reading books and journals on primary English learning help you stay updated.
  • Conferences: Attending educational conferences is a fantastic way to network with other educators. Moreover, conferences allow you to learn from renowned experts and discover new teaching resources.


Teaching primary English is a dynamic and developing field. By understanding the basics, creating an engaging learning environment, and supporting diverse learners, teachers can make a significant impact on their students’ lives. Moreover, continuous professional development and adapting to emerging trends will ensure that teachers remain effective and inspiring educators.

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