I just wanted to call attention to this excellent post in our Teach, Learn, Grow blog. Oral Language Matters: Disrupting the Phonics Monopoly where Dr. Cindy Jiban points out that phonics is only one component to overall reading fluency.
We can help kids best by interactive, supportive conversations about themes, including the new words and phrases that come with that theme. We can help them by giving them chances to talk and repeat and elaborate. We can give them new experiences— field trip, anyone? — and help them reflect on those experiences. We can expose them to language-rich material that might have been too hard without our good scaffolding and support.
Think about those themed play centers in the pre-kindergarten room and those after-recess read alouds still happening in third grade. Those are not just about creativity and chilling kids out; those are for developing kids’ oral language comprehension. How else are we going to have conversations about what it means to say, “Will that be cash or credit?” at the retail store or, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live” (from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)?
What are your favorite strategies to help kids develop oral language skills?