I’m an ELT writer, teacher and teacher educator. My main area of interest is in primary education, working with children between the ages of 3-12.  For more details, visit my website.

The aim of this blog is to share practical ideas, tips and resources for teaching young learners which I’ve accumulated over the last 25 years or so, as well as occasional illustrative anecdotes from my own teaching experience. In order to give the blog a structure and keep me on track, my plan is to do this in the form of an ABC. I intend to work through the alphabet chronologically, posting an entry every week or so if I can. In theory, this means I should get through the alphabet twice this year. But let’s see! This is early days and I’ve still got a lot to learn! I’m also hoping that the direction the blog takes will be led and informed by you and all contributions, comments and suggestions will be very welcome.

In getting started, I’d specially like to thank Lindsay Clandfield for his encouragement and for suggesting the ABC idea when we were at a conference together in Romania last year, and James Matthews for his patience in teaching me some of the basics of how to go about it.



  1. Great idea!
    I think your contributions will be very useful for young teachers like me!

    I will pass the link to some teachers I know in Zaragoza 😉

  2. I will visit your web regularly. It is very generous of you to share your experience. Thank you very much.

  3. Hi María Eugenia and María José

    Thanks for your lovely messages. I really hope the blog will be useful for you and look forward to keeping in touch.

  4. I will be a “frequent visitor” of your blog, Carol! Teachers, I am sure, will find it much easier to contact you individually and in groups while trying to implement new ideas and techniques. I believe, they will also have the opportunity of establishing good human and professional relationships among themselves, too.

  5. Carol
    This is a great idea and makes really refreshing reading – thought-provoking, practical and fun.
    Not too long, and great visually.
    I also like the tone – I find some blogs far too self-indulgently chatty. This is ‘friendly professional’!
    You’ve set a high standard for B-Z… am looking forward to visiting it regularly.
    Good luck with it.

  6. HI Carol,
    This is indeed a great idea! Well done for trying and the success is obvious! I’m looking forward to read your posts!


  7. Hi Binnaz, Susan and Cris
    Many thanks for your encouraging comments and support. It’s great to hear that you feel it’s going in the right direction and very much look forward to your visits on a regular basis.

  8. Hi Carol, good for you, and aren’t we lucky to hear your experience and knowledge! Good luck, the blog already looks like a huge success, and I’m looking forward to reading and learning from you.


  9. Hi Simon – many thanks for visiting and for your lovely message and the good luck. Will be great to benefit from your contributions too.

  10. Hi Carol,

    Well done! I’m looking forward to recommending your blog in future talks.

  11. Hi Margie
    Many thanks for writing – great to hear that you’ll be recommending teachers to take a look.
    Will be brilliant if they’d like to contribute too!

  12. Hi Carol!

    It was so great meeting you at the ELTAF Conference in Idstein, Germany. Both of your talks were brilliant and it was nice to hear about your life in Spain over lunch, as well!

    I thank you tremendously for all of the useful information you shared with us – I’ve already put so much into practice (back chaining for longer structures, having kids guess answers before a listening task (!!!), giving children a choice when disciplining) I really can’t thank you enough – it has really made a difference in my classroom and has brought a great deal of peace of mind.

    I hope our paths cross again one day. Until then, you’re always welcome in Frankfurt!

    Jennifer Kornmann

    • Hi Jennifer

      Thanks so much for writing. It was great to meet you at ELTAF too, and I’m so glad you found my talks useful.

      Thanks also for visiting my blog. It will be great if you and/or any of your friends and colleagues ever feel like contributing!

      Look forward to seeing you again soon – either virtually or at another conference!

  13. Hi Carol,

    I ❤ your blog 🙂

    Do you have any plans to publish this as a book? I would love to buy one!

    Thanks for all your effort ~ I'm learning a lot!


    • Hi Jo
      Many thanks for your message and positive feedback – I’m so glad you find the blog helpful. No plans for a book at the moment, but many thanks for the thought!

  14. Very pleased to have found this blog through Ken Wilson’s blog. I saw your talk at TESOL Madrid, and it was very interesting indeed!

    I am an ELT teacher in my first year of full-time teaching. Since I was trained to teach adults, I really have been sinking and swimming with my young learners. I hope to find some helpful tips here!

    Thank you for being kind enough to share your expertise to help others.


    • Hi Kirsten

      Many thanks for getting in touch. I’m so glad you enjoyed my talk at TESOL Madrid, and please do come and say ‘hi’ if we coincide at any other conferences.

      I can understand completely what you mean about ‘sinking and swimming’ with YLs especially is if this your first year of full-time teaching and after being trained to teach adults. It will get easier with time (really) and I very much hope the blog articles will help. It would also be great if you ever feel like sharing your experiences and thoughts with others on the blog too.

  15. hi carol.. I’m a student of university in Indonesia..
    I will finished my skripsi about jazz chant. I need your name. plizzz give me your name not your nick name. thx u..
    your blog very good. it’s help my skripsi about jazz chant

    • Hi there! Thanks for getting in touch and so glad the post on jazz chants has been helpful for your university studies. My name is as in the title of the blog – Carol Read – this is my real name, not a nickname!

  16. Dear Carol,
    I am just writing my thesis about “Teaching vocabulary to young learners through entertaining techniques’. I have already used some of your articles to support my thesis. Thank you for all of them. I have a problem with one of your mind map from the article ‘The challenge of teaching children’, English Teaching Professional, April 1998. I found this mind map in the internet http://www.zrss.si/projektiess/skladisce/sporazumevanje_v_tujih_jezikih/tuj%20jezik%20v%20prvem%20triletju/Zaklju%C4%8Dna%20konferenca/Seminar_junij%202009/Predstavitve%20izvajalcev%20seminarja/carol_read_29.6.09.pdf
    but I am not sure of the answers. Could you help me? Many thanks.

    • Hi Bernadeta
      Thanks for writing. The answers to the mind map are: i) full of practice 2) supported 3) meaningful 4) purposeful 5) enjoyable 6) social. Hope this helps and good luck with finishing your thesis!

  17. Hi Carol,

    Thank you for your reply. I know you written some valuable things on teaching young learners. As you know from the comment above, after just under a year of teaching YLs, I still don’t feel “in my element”. This summer will be a break from teaching for me which I will use to read around the topic and come to some conclusions about how to go forward next year. Ironically, when teaching every day, I don’t have time to absorb and reflect and then plan something better. This is why I need a summer off!

    Basically, can you recommend me a book which deals specifically with teaching grammar to YLs? This is the hardest for me, since I teach them as well as I can, but they don’t retain anything when we revisit something later. When they have a test which says “Complete the sentences with the present continuous” they fall flat, because, although they know the tense, they don’t remember that it’s called the present tense. In another class I have to teach the passive. The children are about eleven. I’ve helped them with this a few times, but again, they don’t retain it. I don’t think that they can grasp the concept of the passive. So, grammar is a huge area to look into. I’d love to find out your thoughts.


    PS, Like many of us in this work, I did a CELTA dealing specifically with adults who understand terms like subject, object, etc. I was never trained to teach kids, so it’s all trial and error.

  18. Is there going to be an X, Y, Z?


    • Hi Joanne

      Thanks for writing and for the prod! Yes, there is, when work calms down a bit – in July hopefully! I’m also thinking what might follow after Z so if you have any ideas of things you’d like to see please do share.

  19. Great Website!

    You have written down so many things that have been floating around in my head semi-formed for ages. I’m especially thankful that it is not a bunch of “learning style” bunk which is what most websites and courses offer nowadays…

    I just found your site today, but have been employing many of the strategies laid out here for years. I have only read two pages so far, so maybe this is in there, but I find the biggest limiting factor on young students’ performance is the teacher and/or parents. “They’re too young…”, “They can’t…” are phrases I here teachers and parents utter far too often.

    As for my ESL students, with just one and a half hours a week from age three, they can all read, spell, and speak well by age five, far ahead of their native language counterparts in English speaking countries.

  20. Thank you so much for your sharing! I am a new teaching assistant of an English class for kids. I will visit your site more regularly! Thank you! 🙂

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