Learning on the move- Early Years resources, Primary resources International Teachers Magazine

Learning on the move

Holiday homework for EAL students

EAL students need to concentrate extra hard in class to understand what is going on in school. During the vacations, they have less guidance. Anita Bamberger has some ideas to make holiday homework fun and rewarding.

Generating enthusiasm

Although workbooks and worksheets may be pleasing to parents, students who may start with good intentions often avoid doing them. Generating enthusiasm and motivation are the key factors in keeping them on task in an unstructured environment.

Keeping a Holiday Diary/Journal

For more advanced students keeping a holiday diary is a great way for them to practise their writing skills.  They could also include pictures they have drawn, photographs they have taken or items they have collected.  Outline the expectations for the length of writing, for example (around 4/5 lines per day) which makes it easily achievable. Giving the students a book before the holidays and telling them that they will be able to share it with their peers after the vacation is highly motivational.

After the hoildays,  the EAL teacher editing it together with the student is a validating experience for the student and a great way of highlighting areas that they may need to work on. Students usually gain more from this than any formal grammar session as it is examining grammar in context, which is both meaningful and relevant to the student.

Taking pictures of any interesting adverts and collecting leaflets from any museums or exhibitions they have visited is also an excellent way of collecting personal data to be used in the EAL class.

Reading and libraries

The value of reading is never to be underestimated! Encouraging your students of all ages to join their local library where they could go on a regular basis to select books they are interested in is a must. Having ownership of their book choices will increase their motivation. Model how to write book reviews and encourage them to write their own reviews. This is another way to motivate them to write and to check their understanding. A display in your school library of their book reviews or a selection of several reviews to promote e.g. Books of the Month would validate their efforts as well as sharing their writing with their peers.

Building vocabulary

Additionally, it is important to encourage students to foster the use of creating a vocabulary book/dictionary in which to write any new or difficult words that they can share/discuss with their teacher/peers after the holidays. This will help students expand their vocabulary.

Often, during the holidays, libraries and book shops hold story-telling sessions where children could go along and listen or act out favourite tales. Encourage families/students to check with local websites in their area for information.


Here are a few websites where summer programmes are already listed.

  • Have a look at this website under Bookworm.


  • If you are in London visit the William Morris Gallery:


  • If you are in Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes there is a whole programme of events up until the end of July and into August. Have a look at this website.


  • John Kirk (Storyteller) is touring the countryside this summer and is pleased to announce that he will be telling Nigel Auchterlounie’s Dennis and the Chamber of Mischief this summer. For dates and venues click below:



Creative students may enjoy story writing and having an outline as a guide would be useful. The British council website has ideas for a Holiday English book. Click on their logo to follow the link.


Suitable Programmes for Younger Students

Younger students would benefit from watching children’s programmes such as: Peppa Pig or Charlie and Lola and for the very young from listening to stories such as: The Adventures of Spot or Ben and Hollys Little Kingdom.

There are a range of activities from CBeebies to choose from:  http://global.cbeebies.com/

‘CBeebies is a pre-school channel for children aged six years and under. The international CBeebies channel is commercial-free and is wholly-owned by BBC Studios. The channel’s programme schedule consists of the entertaining, trusted and interactive series seen on the UK’s own number one children’s CBeebies channel, and offers a mix of new and landmark, high-quality programmes to educate and entertain the BBC’s youngest audiences.’


Nursery rhymes and children’s songs are also a fantastic way of learning rhyming words as well as building basic vocabulary and structures. Have a look at this blog founded by Sarah Mullett who trained as a soprano and for 15 years has taught music to children aged 6 months to reception/kindergarten.

Click on the logo to follow the link.

Another great educational site is Topmarks where you can select material suitable for different age groups and view the nursery rhyme lyrics online or download to print them out.


Click on the logo to follow the link

Family reading

Also, if children have younger siblings they could practice their reading skills and build their confidence by reading favourite bedtime stories to their brother or sister.

On return to school in September, encourage the children to share their favourite rhyme or program with their peers. The key to holiday homework is to grant your students ownership of their learning by giving them choices and showing them you appreciated their efforts. Give them lots of effective praise and the opportunity to share their learning!


Anita Bamberger

A bilingual French/English speaker, Anita is currently an EAL/French teacher in a bilngual school, having previously taught at Dwight International School, and the Southbank International School for nine years.



Further Reading:

Heads up English- International Teachers MagazineAn interesting article and website on holiday English:

Click on the logo to follow the link

iSLCOLLECTIVE- Primary resources International Teachers MagazineSome fun worksheets can be found at:

Click on the logo to follow the link




You may also like