Oral language development

4F) Multiple modalities

Explicitly teach words through oral and multiple modalities of writing, speaking, and listening (e.g., vocabulary picture cards, word maps, visual aids, props, word walls, gestures).

Resource Guide: A Deeper Look at Early Literacy

This interactive guide offers a comprehensive approach to literacy for Multilingual Learners. It is an overview of the language and literacy skills and instruction that children need at different stages of development. Common literacy terms are defined, instructional strategies are offered, and a picture of instruction, aligned across the grades is explained.
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Video: Toy Animals

This video clip shows both English and Spanish-speaking teachers developing student content knowledge about animals through oral conversations. Students then paint animals using toys as examples and share knowledge about their paintings so teachers can write down what each child says.
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Video: My Pumpkin Story—Metalinguistic Awareness

A teacher works with Wendy to orally discuss and write a story about a recent pumpkin project. When the teacher asks Wendy to take her writing home, the interaction changes to Spanish so Wendy can talk to her Spanish-speaking mother about her project.
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Video: Engaging with Text and Narrative

This video begins by highlighting chants, songs, and intentional conversation that teachers facilitate to help young Multilingual Learners (MLs) to develop oral language. Further examples demonstrate how oral language can then transfer to written language and early reading opportunities. It is important for MLs to use developing literacy skills in authentic, print-rich learning contexts, where they feel ownership for their learning and knowledge.
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Early Childhood Examples and Definitions for Multilingual Learners

This document illustrates how to integrate concrete representations, realia, and objects from home to support oral language and vocabulary.
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Strategy Overview: Observation Pictures

When paired with open-ended questions, pictures can inspire analytical thinking and promote oral language through questioning and describing visual images. This strategy can be used as an open invitation into both language and content learning with Multilingual Learners.
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Website Article: Are Your Writers Talking During Writer’s Workshop?

Talking about writing is a way to support the writing process itself, particularly for Multilingual Learners (MLs). This article reviews instructional strategies that a teacher can use to direct MLs to use all of their linguistic resources during a writer's workshop.
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Webinar: Promoting Oracy in Spanish Language / El desarollo de la oralidad en español (Spanish)

This webinar given in Spanish focuses on developing oracy for Multilingual Learners. The research-based considerations for lesson design and example activities are introduced to support the development of oral expression, fluency, and comprehension during instruction.
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Strategy Overview: Fractions, Factors, and Functions, Oh My! Are My ELs Attaching Meaning to Math Words?

This guide helps teachers plan meaningful activities to make math accessible, hands-on, build on students' prior knowledge, and be language-focused. In these resources, teachers can read about the dos and don'ts of math vocabulary instruction for Multilingual Learners.
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Strategy Overview: Selecting and Using Academic Vocabulary in Instruction

This document reviews criteria for how to select academic vocabulary for instruction with Multilingual Learners and offers other supports for vocabulary instruction.
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Strategy Overview: Supports for Writing and Discussion

This document outlines strategic scaffolding activities to support Multilingual Learners in writing and discussion, including sentence stems, signal words, and word banks.
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Webinar: Supporting English Learner Students in the Early Grades

This link includes two webinars that share practical strategies for teachers to support the literacy and language development of Multilingual Learners in the early grades. The first webinar is "Scaffolding Emergent Reading, Oral Language, and Writing for Dual Language Learners/English Learners in PreK–1st Grade," and the second is "Language & Literacy Development in PreK–1st Grade: Words and More."
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Video: Draw & Label Strategy- 3rd grade

In this demonstration of the "Draw & Label" strategy, the teacher teaches academic and content vocabulary while drawing and creating a language resource for the Multilingual Learners in the class. This resource helps them engage with and practice content area vocabulary and concepts in multiple modalities.
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Video: Draw & Label Strategy- Kindergarten

In this demonstration of the "Draw & Label" strategy, the teacher teaches academic and content vocabulary while drawing and creating a language resource for the Multilingual Learners in the class. This resource helps them engage with and practice content area vocabulary and concepts in multiple modalities.
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Strategy Overview: Draw and Label

The teacher talks about a content concept while drawing and labeling an image with academic vocabulary. Through this strategy, the teacher uses oral and visual cues to help students develop and practice the language in context and learn key content.
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Strategy Overview: Draw, Tell, & Label

This resource describes how to implement the Draw, Tell, & Label strategy in classrooms with Multilingual Learners. This strategy provides multiple opportunities for children to engage with and practice content area vocabulary. This resource also includes guidance on building content understanding in the home language(s) and English.
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Strategy Overview: Draw and Dictate

In this strategy, a child draws a picture of their observation or idea, and then the teacher writes down the child's verbal explanation. This supports children's understanding of sound-text correspondence, helps them see themselves as authors, and can be used as a formative assessment.
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Video: Draw, Tell, & Label

In this video, teachers demonstrate the Draw, Tell, & Label strategy in classrooms with Multilingual Learners. This strategy provides multiple opportunities for children to engage with and practice content area vocabulary.
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Video: Center Extensions

In these videos, teachers discuss ways to align activities to an intentional message and anchor text to help teach target words. The videos also show how hands-on experiences help provide meaning to target words.
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