For my students, third trimester has just begun. The time when benchmark and near-benchmark students begin to soar, and the time when students that are struggling with academic skills lag further and further behind.
Why? Because of the great discrepancy in their foundational oral language skill acquisition and development. For example, how can a student match an alphabet letter to an object if they do not know what the names of all the objects are? How can a student write a CVC word when the picture is of something unknown to them? How can a student use pictures clues to decode a guided reader when the vocabulary is unknown to name the picture?
What Can We Do To Lessen The Gap?
So what can we do for these students? In the early years of learning, a strong foundation in oral vocabulary is imperative to a students’ future academic success. Consequently, the development of oral language skills should be strategically taught!
Following are a few oral language activities that you can try with your struggling students.
- Do oral language bags (simply collect a bag of objects, name them, and discuss them).
- Sing nursery rhymes and other songs over and over again.
- Actively read rhyming books where the reader and listener engage with the rhyme.
- Do repetitive chants and poems.
- Use puppets or props to retell simple stories.
- Talk with children. “Tell me when...” “What do you do...” “How do you...” “What do you like...” etc.
- Make up stories with beginning, middle, end cards.
- Play opposite games.
- Ask questions and allow students to respond. Some children need wait time to gather their response.
- Give students opportunities to expand on their responses. For example, if the response is apple, “What color is the apple?” “Have you eaten an apple?” “What did it taste like?”
- Read, read, read! And then talk about what you read!
This oral language packet hopefully can be a starting point to developed oral language for your child or students.