EAL (English as an Additional Language) Support

Dear Parents/ Guardians,

We hope you all had a lovely Easter and that you are keeping safe in these difficult weeks.

If you speak your home or mother tongue with your child and your child speaks English as a second or additional language this is called EAL (English as an Additional Language).

Speaking more than one language is a great advantage for your child. Learning a second language takes time. Class teachers and support teachers are very aware of your child’s language development. Sometimes children get extra support for a while with the E.A.L. teacher.

Tips For Parents of children who do not speak English at home.

If you do not speak English with your child this is how you can help:

  • Remember that speaking and listening to your child in your home or mother tongue with your child is the most importantthing you can do.
  • Doing things together and speaking about them, games, drawing, making something.
  • Learning about a new school topic in the home language.
  • Read when you can to your child in your home language. 
  • If your child can read or write in his/her home language continue to do this at home if you can.
  • If your child is starting to read or already reading at school, listen to him/her read every day. (It does not matter if you are not a speaker of English yourself, your child is reading and talking about the reading to you).
  • Talk about the reading in your home language and explain anything that your child does not understand if you can.


The work the children get from school may have some new words and phrases.

Practicing and revising these new words and phrases is very helpful as it can take time to remember new words and their meanings.

If you can speak a little English with your child here are two extra activities you can do with the work given by the class teacher. A lot of the children know these activities already from their class work.

These activities help to remember new words on any topic.

Meg’s Game:

Write down a short list of  5 or 6 words from the class work.
Pick a word from the list in your head and explain the meaning (give a clue) to your child. Your child has to tell you which word it is.

Now get your child to pick a word in their head and explain the meaning.
Brothers and sisters can do this together, sharing their work.

Word in  head: elephant
Clue:  It’s a very big animal. It’s grey. It lives in Africa. It has a trunk.

The Two Minute Write Fast

After reading a text a couple of times, set a timer and write as many words as you can remember from your reading in two minutes! Just try to remember the words and do your best (have a go) at the spelling.

EAL Topics

If your child is younger (junior infants to third class) or very new to learning English they will be learning and revising words and phrases in the following topics. Practice any of these with your child whenever you have a chance and as they are doing their normal activities during the day.

Maybe take a topic such as feelings and both of you use words for feelings like those listed below. The details are only a guide.

1. Myself – name, age, birthday, my family, brother, sister, good morning, how are you today, please, thank you, my body, washing my hands, getting up, what I like to do, drawing, riding my bike.

2. School – my classroom, my desk, my friends, my teacher, pencil, book, rubber, pencil case, chair, my school uniform, the principal, break time, my lunch, my lunchbox, the yard, playing, games, going to school, I walk, I take the car…

3. Clothes – jumper, coat, trousers, dress, hat, scarf, shoes, socks, pyjamas, clothes for different weather, colours with clothes, this is my red jacket, I like my blue runners.

4. Houses and Homes – the rooms in the house, kitchen, living room, sitting room, furniture

5. Food – what we eat for breakfast, dinner, tea, fruits, vegetables, setting the table, knife, fork, spoon, cup, plate bowls, I like/I don’t like, making dinner, making a cake.

6. Opposites   – big/little, hot/cold, happy/sad, long/short, up/down, in/out.  The elephant is big. The car is small.

7.  Feelings – I am happy, sad, tired, angry, excited. I am happy when…

8. Weather and Seasons – sunny, warm, cold, rainy, snowing, windy, cloudy. It is a rainy day.

9. Spring – February, March, April, baby animals, lamb, calf, flowers, daffodils, buds on trees, sunny weather.

10. People who help us – doctor, nurse, teacher, guard, fireman, shopkeeper, taxi driver, bus driver.

11. Plants and Animals – having a pet, my dog, taking care of my pet, animals on the farm, animals in the zoo, animals in other countries.

12. Transport – my bicycle, car, bus, train, boat, ship, ferry,  airplane, train station, airport, talk about a trip you took.

13. My Local Area – shops, school, playground, church, office, roads, traffic lights, shopping centre.

14. Summer – months May, June, July, sunny, what we do in the summer, holidays, swimming, picnic.

Websites and Apps

Two websites (free right now) that have a lot of activities on the topics are:

There are many websites and apps that children can use by themselves. This is a time when it might be hard to limit screen time so perhaps pick one or two and stick with those for now.

For younger children starting to speak English or starting to read.

App: British Council: Learning Time with Timmy.

App: British Council: Starting to Read  

Website:  learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org

For older children who are reading in English.

App: Duolingo

App: British Council LearnEnglishGrammar

Website:  Clozemaster.com