Language Develops Through Conversation

by Dr. Eva Konstantellou, Reading Recovery Trainer

from the When Readers Struggle Institute session on Attending to Oral Language Development in our Teaching of Struggling Readers

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In a conversation we listen to the speaker carefully before we reply. We  need to listen to our students closely and spend time talking with them, not at them.

Fostering children’s oral language development will help support their engagement in reading and writing activities from the start.

Marie Clay in her article “Talking, Reading, and Writing” (Journal of Reading Recovery, Spring 2004) suggests that teachers can support their students’ language development by:

  • Creating a rich context for language learning
  • Increasing language learning opportunities (opportunities to compose and construct language)
  • Realizing that children learn language easily through conversation
  • Considering what things make a child reluctant to speak
  • Recognizing the importance of reading aloud to children
  • Creating the need to produce language
  • Thinking about which language structures are easier to learn
  • Understanding when children discover new rules and find when to use them
  • Appreciating how children learn the order of words and structures in English

And as a reminder, children with limited language skills need more opportunities to talk.

One thought on “Language Develops Through Conversation

  1. I am a preschool teacher and I couldn’t agree more. Incorportating language opportunities in the classroom is vital for all children but I find that it is especially important for young children.

    Thank you for the information!

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