Literacy Pirates

a fleet of learning centres in Hackney, Haringey and soon beyond

Top tips for working with more than one Young Pirate

Working with more than one Young Pirate can sometimes be a challenge but we believe that it can be a brilliant opportunity for some teamwork! Here’s some top tips, suggestions and ideas on how to keep it fun, impactful and plain sailing...

 Getting Started…

  • Sit in the middle of your Young Pirates.
  • Get things started by setting an icebreaker/conversation starter (e.g name, school and favourite food).
  • Before you get started discuss the best way to work as a team. Agree to support each other by listening and giving each other time as there is only one of you. You could do it by referring to the the effort score by saying something along these lines…

 Setting a group effort score

 “Today is a really good opportunity for you to get a 4 or 5 in the effort challenge. Working in a three means you will sometimes need to go above and beyond to reach a high standard of work as you have the support of only one crew mate between you both.

 I'm going to be really impressed with you in session today if you are working to support each other during the session as well as being patient with me. 

 Your session leader has put us in a three as they know you’re ready for the challenge and will rise to the opportunity.”


Suggest that the Young Pirates read the same book as a group, then select a book together (in Secondary the book may already be chosen and they are used to reading in a group). Here are some game ideas for keeping everyone involved during reading and creating group cohesion…

Group reading games

  1. Play 'Popcorn': The person who is reading can say popcorn at any time (or after a decided amount - a paragraph minimum, say). This bounces the reading to the next person and bounce it to the next person.
  2. Play 'Mastermind' - One member of the group reads a page. The others in the group then ask that reader 2-3 questions about what they have read.
  3. Set page targets - work as a team to get to a certain point. Base the effort score around it - 5 pages gets us a 3, 10 gets us a 4, 20 gets us a 5, for example. 

If the Young Pirates would prefer to read separate books independently, that’s also fine.  In this case, we suggest you split your time between them, asking them questions about what they have just read, at separate intervals individually.


You can work more with the Young Pirate who needs you most, don't feel you need to be equal in time, some Young Pirates work more independently than others, and that’s fine. Here’s a suggestion for setting up tasks as a group…

 Setting up a writing task

  1.  When setting up a task, get both Young Pirates to focus on one person’s work. Give that Young Pirate a set task or challenge (e.g write 2 sentences that describe that using a simile) and set them off before focusing your attention on the second Young Pirate.
  2. Once you have set off the second Young Pirate, return to the first one to support/check in/set another task and repeat accordingly. 
  3. If they both come to a pause at the same time, repeat the first step with the initial focus on the other Young Pirate.

Remember to pause and share your learning and celebration between the two Young Pirates…

"Pirate X did really well at this and I thought that might help you too."

"Me and Pirate Y talked about this really helpful mistake we learned from..."


Call  the Session Leader or Session Support if you feel the pair aren't working well together, or if you have any questions or need some extra support.