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Mind Your Language – Topical Tuesdays Activities from First News

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Children have been speaking out about how badly they can be hurt by things said to them. They also said how encouraging words helped them to feel really good about themselves.

The study of more than 1,000 children, for the Words Matter charity, reveals that two in five children say adults regularly use hurtful and upsetting words to blame, insult or criticise them.

This resources pack includes an article from First News, along with a sheet of activities designed to get children thinking, talking and writing about what the story means to them.


There’s an old saying: sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me. Are we allowing ourselves to become too sensitive to what people say?

Shouldn’t we be helping children to be more resilient to unpleasant comments? Aren’t there always going to be people who say nasty things and we should learn ways to deal with it?

Or is it right to highlight the hurt that can be caused by unkind comments? We don’t tolerate physical attacks so why should we accept verbal abuse?

If we create a culture in which it is unacceptable to say hurtful things, won’t that eventually reduce how often it happens? What do you think?

Writing skills

Write an Aesop-style fable (a short story with a moral, typically involving animals, such as The Hare and the Tortoise) that either shows how unkind comments can be countered or demonstrates how praise and encouragement work better than criticism. Remember to state the moral clearly at the end.


Write a diary entry about a day when you were facing a difficult situation but someone’s kind words or encouragement made you feel so much better and helped you to overcome the problem. Remember to use the first person and past tense.


Politicians and other leaders often come out with positive, hopeful or encouraging slogans with which to inspire people. Research some examples you particularly like and write them down, along with the names of the people who said them (or made them famous).

What is First News?

Launched in May 2006, First News is the most trusted weekly newspaper for young audiences, covering global headlines and empowering children with an understanding of the world in which they are growing up.

To find out more about how First News could help your school unlock the power of news-based learning, through high quality, weekly resources alongside the print and digital newspaper, visit the First News Education website.

  • News story
  • Activities sheet
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