: Oral language
mOre than Just talk
What brings you here this
I’m here because
Welcome and Introductions
My name is
• Consideration of the importance of oral language
development in second language acquisition,
literacy/ biliteracy instruction and content
• Strategies to support students’ oral language
development in the classroom
Language Functions and
“for children with poor English skills, the language
becomes a block to learning… their window is made
of frosted glass. So for children learning in a second
language, it is important that we are aware of the
language we use and that we deliberately create
opportunities for children to hear and use it. We
need to look at language, rather than simply through
Oral LanguageOral Language
The receptive and expressive aspects of
language that involves listening and speaking.
Language occurs through an
Genes (most animals have
innate tendencies to
communicate and be sociable),
Individual thinking abilities.
Preproduction • Minimal comprehension
•Does not verbalize
• Nods “yes” and “no”
0-6 months • Show me…
• Circle the …
• Who has…?
• Limited comprehension
• One-or-two word responses
• Participates using key words
and familiar responses
• Presents-tense verbs
• Yes/ no questions
• Either/or questions
• One-or-two word
• Good comprehension
• Produces simple sentences
• Makes grammar and
1-3 years • Why…?
• Explain …
• Phrase or short
• Excellent comprehension
• Few grammatical errors
3-5 years • What would happen
• Why do you think…?
The student has near-native
levels of speech
5-7 years • Decide if ….
•Breadth – number of words known
Breadth is more important than
depth for reading comprehension
•Depth – multiple meanings, level to
which words are understood
Depth is also important & aids in
low vocabulary includes:low vocabulary includes:
•One-way speech from
adult to child
•Short, curtailed adult to
(usually a reprimand or
•Adult watching instead
Spoken Language SkillsSpoken Language Skills
•Encourage Language Use:
•Increase the number of conversations
•Repeat words and have children practice
•Check for comprehension
•Use big words and synonyms
•Systematically teach weekly
vocabulary and add related words
Big – large, huge, gigantic, giant,
immense, great, enormous, whopping,
substantial, massive, tall, spacious
•AVOID having children just sit and
wait for more than a minute or two.
Have books or placements available
•Books and writing material in EVERY
•Children’s work at eye level
•During transitions and in bathroom
Practice letters, nursery rhymes,
Literacy EnvironmentLiteracy Environment
Practice a 4-5 roundPractice a 4-5 round
• 1 .Teacher (T) says, “What is this?”
• 1. C (C) says, “It is a cat.”
• 2. T says, “Yes, it is a cat. What do you think it is
• 2. C says, “Looking”
• 3. T says, Looking at what?”
• 3. C says, “I don’t know.”
• 4. T says, “If I were a cat and looking toward the sky, I
might see a bird. What do think the cat might see?”
• 4. C says, “a tree.”
• 5. T says, “He might be looking at a tree. Cats love to
Why should we do this?
Success for students in culturally
diverse classrooms depends on the
degree to which there are strategies
that encourage all students to talk
and work together.
Mohr and Mohr Reading
• Teachers should assume that, like an
iceberg that shows only a small
percentage of its mass above the
water, students have a great deal of
competence that is not yet evident.
Mohr and Mohr Reading Teacher 2007
• Cappellini, M. (2005). Balancing Reading and Language Learning.
• Freeman, Y. and Freeman, D. (2009). Academic Language for English Language
Learners and Struggling Readers: How to Help Students Succeed Across Content
Areas. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
• Gibbons, P. (2009.) English Learners Academic Literacy and Thinking: Learning
in the Challenge Zone. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
• Zwiers, J. (2008) Building Academic Language: Essential Practices for Content
Classrooms. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
• August, D. and T. Shanahan. (2006). Executive Summary Developing Literacy in
Second-Language Learners: Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-
Minority Children and Youth. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.