UNDERSTANDING: This article helped to deepen my understanding of young children's oral language development. The article discusses when and how language is learned, the components of oral language (phonological, semantic, syntactic, and pragmatics), as well as ways to nurture language development (e.g., encourage interaction and peer learning)
INSTRUCTION: A community circle can foster and encourage students' oral language development. In a community circle, students discuss the group expectations, such as mutual respect and no put downs. Then the students go around in a circle to discuss a topic or follow up on a sentence starter, such as, "I am thankful for..." This encourage students' oral language development by providing them with opportunities to share things about themselves, to ask questions and to respond to peers' questions.
ASSESSMENT: This activity is effective for engaging students in story retells using puppets. Teachers can observe and assess whether the students can correctly retell a story in the correct sequence. Teachers can look for things such as whether the student can effectively communicate their ideas and if they utilize appropriate pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary in their speaking.
INSTRUCTION: This vocabulary wheel is effective in helping to build students' oral language vocabularies. Students can look at the wheel as a resource for different types of questions they can ask their peers, such as "how dose it feel?" "what shape is it?" Students can use this as a resource during community circle, show-and-tell or during personal conversations.
INSTRUCTION: This activity helps develop students' descriptive language through a game. There is a "bag of mysteries" with multiple unknown objects. Chosen students reach into the bag without looking and each pick one descriptor for the item. The class then tries to guess the item based on those words. After, the class can develop additional descriptors for the object together. This promotes students' oral language by requiring them to think of different ways to describe the object.
INSTRUCTION: The Conversation Station and activity helps to build oral language by teaching students about the value of conversation and how to build conversation skills. The station has cards with topics, phrases, and words that students can use to talk to their peers. This allows students to build their conversation skills as good talkers and listeners, as well as their oral language. This station can be effective for ELL students by providing them with some structure and familiar vocabulary.
ASSESSMENT: This article discussed the informal reading inventory (IRI) method. This is an ongoing assessment that can be used to assess students' oral language comprehension. Teachers read a passage and ask questions aloud to students. Students then respond orally. Students' ability to listen, attend to, and understand oral language; ability to remember details regarding the passage; and to answer explicit and implicit questions are analyzed.
INSTRUCTION: Television Stars is a motivating way to encourage students to talk. Students take turns being television stars, where they stand “inside” a pretend television and discuss the topic of the day. Teachers encourage students to add detail and speak fluently and loudly (to “turn up their volume” of their voices) so that others can hear. This helps to build students’ oral language by providing multiple opportunities for them to practice speaking over a diverse range of topics (RR, n.d.).