Why Oral Language Development Is Essential for Preliteracy and Beyond

Think for a moment about how children learn language. They are learning before they are even born. They can hear and feel the vibrations of their mother’s voice while they are still in the womb. Once welcomed into the world, they listen to their parents talking and singing to them. Like little sponges, they soak everything in, from the sounds letters and words make to the inflection and rhythm of the spoken language. Then they begin making sounds of their own.

Through oral language, or spoken language, children progress in their understanding of words and the ability to use them to communicate their thoughts and feelings with others. They start by saying simple words usually around the age of one, soon followed by stringing words together to form sentences.

Oral language lays the foundation for the reading and writing skills children will develop as they enter and progress through school. They will use oral language in all aspects of their education, in the classroom as they connect with their peers and teachers, and throughout their lives as they grow into adulthood. Having a solid foundation in oral language will help them become successful readers and strong communicators as well as build their confidence and overall sense of well-being.

According to the National Reading Panel (NRP), there are five components of a reading curriculum that are essential to its success: phonemic awarenessphonicsfluency developmentvocabulary development, and comprehension. English language arts scholars believed that oral language development, along with many other components critical in an early literacy program, were left off of this list. The GrapeSEED program provides instruction and materials to cover the NRP’s five components as well as an additional ten key components identified by the scholars. Recognizing how important a solid foundation is for successful language development, GrapeSEED placed oral language and critical listening at the heart of its program for young learners.

oral language at the center of GrapeSEED program

Oral language and critical listening are skills often missing from reading and writing programs, leaving teachers to wonder why their students are still struggling or taking longer than expected to become proficient speakers and readers. GrapeSEED’s focus on building these essential skills is one of the reasons the program is so successful. Children must be able to understand the language they are hearing and reading in school in order to thrive as readers, writers and communicators. Through carefully designed multi-sensory materials, GrapeSEED keeps children engaged and helps them learn language naturally. As a result, independent research shows that GrapeSEED students are reaching English proficiency in speaking and reading faster than the national average and are closing the achievement gap in language. Contact us to learn how!

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