What is Oral Language?
Oral Language skills are an important component of language development. It is made up of at least five key components (Moats 2010) including phonological skills, pragmatics, syntax, morphological skills, and vocabulary. Students need opportunities throughout the day to practice their speaking and listening skills. For English Language Learners this is particularly important so that students gain proficiency in speaking and listening in English. Research shows that ELLs need a low-anxiety environment, repeated practice, comprehensible input, and drama (McCauley and McCauley) in order to learn English.
Oral Language Task Cards
I developed an Oral Language Task Card Bundle to help students practice academic vocabulary. In addition these task cards help them learn sentence structure (syntax) and social rules of conversation (pragmatics). To develop oral language skills I suggest having students work with a partner where one partner asks the question and the other partner responds. Partner one then replies either agreeing with the response of partner two or giving their own opinion and building on the first response. Working with a partner is a low stress way for students to practice academic vocabulary and increase their oral language skills.
These task cards all have general topics and everyday vocabulary. This is so that they can be used be students with a range of language levels.
McCauley, J.K. & McCauley, D.S. (1992). Using choral reading to promote language learning for ESL students. The Reading Teacher, 45, 526-533.
Moats, L. (2010). Speech to print (2nd ed). Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing Company