4) Oral language development

How can I support my Multilingual Learners’ oral language development?

Blog Series: Shifting Towards a Multilingual View of Biliteracy

This series includes 4 blog posts that are useful for teachers and administrators who are new to biliteracy models for instruction. The posts include information to help understand and advocate for these models for instruction.
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Resource Guide: Barrier Games

This is a list of resources for barrier games to use in the classroom. These games are designed to encourage oral language practice since one student is given information that another student needs.
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Digital Book: Developing Oral Language with Barrier Games

Barrier games are designed to promote oral language since one student is given information that another partner student needs. The lesson design encourages students to ask information of one another. This resource provides many example barrier games.
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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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Video: Integrated Thematic Unit- PreK/TK

This video provides a rich opportunity to look inside a preschool classroom and note the intentional supports for oral language and content development in a thematic unit of study. The teacher implements various fun activities for students to explore and think deeply about the theme while developing both the home language and ELD skills.
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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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Curriculum Units: Mosaic Integrated Science, Math, and English Language Development

These are example curriculum units that integrate content learning with English language development. The units offer many instructional ideas to help teachers plan authentic, hands-on tasks for Multilingual Learners, and provide intentional context to practice content-based English language.
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Video: Model Curriculum for English Learners – Historical Perspectives (3rd grade)

An ELD teacher shares how she uses language objectives to design instruction for intermediate-level Multilingual Learners.
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Blog: Creating an Equitable Learning Environment for English Language Learners Through Being a Reader (Part 2)

This blog offers one example of how to engage Multilingual Learners prior to reading a shared text. Example prompts and instructional moves are shared to build background, preview the text, and establish language supports for text discussion.
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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: Anchor Charts for Synonyms – A Vocabulary Strategy

The use of anchor charts in the math classroom creates rich opportunities for teachers to collect, discuss, and practice vocabulary with Multilingual Learners.
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Strategy Overview: Amplify and Facilitate Student Learning about Language

Attention and practice in the language of math is a critical part of instruction for Multilingual Learners. In these resources, teachers can read about the dos and don'ts of math instruction for Multilingual Learners.
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Strategy Overview: Talk Moves

This resource offers specific teacher language to use in order to facilitate and structure classroom discussions. These talk moves help create quality opportunities for Multilingual Learners to practice and use oral language.
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Strategy Overview: Bounce Cards for Primary Grades (Spanish and blank for other L1)

This strategy sets teachers up to distribute role cards to build structured conversation and promote quality oral language practice in the classroom.
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Strategy Overview: Bounce Cards for Primary Grades (English)

This strategy sets teachers up to distribute role cards to build structured conversation and promote quality oral language practice in the classroom.
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Strategy Overview: Narrative Input

After a shared reading of a text, students retell, act out, and/or capture key vocabulary and content information with a variety of experiences. This multi-day strategy builds on student's storytelling and oral language skills.
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Website Article: Adapting Morning Meeting Greeting for English Learners

Morning meetings are a common part of the instructional day. This article offers strategies on how to make Multilingual Learners feel welcome and included, along with activity ideas that draw on students' linguistic diversity.
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Video: Engaging Kindergartners with Academic Vocabulary

In this video, the teacher encourages kindergartners to listen for and use academic vocabulary to practice oral language fluency. The teacher uses a variety of strategies including chants, choral response, partner discussion, and extended wait time.
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Video: Juicy Sentence Example with Butterflies (K)

This video is an example of a teacher facilitating a "juicy sentence" discussion with a group of kindergarteners learning about butterflies. The juicy sentence strategy helps Multilingual Learners access complex text through the study of a mentor sentence.
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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: Routines for Mathematical Discussions

This document reviews multiple strategies that teachers can use to support a rich discussion of mathematics for Multilingual Learners. These strategies help teachers elicit talk and elaborate on student discussion during math, and can be adapted for other content areas as well.
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Strategy Overview: Juicy Sentence Guidance

This document reviews a strategy to help Multilingual Learners access complex text through the study of a mentor sentence. After selecting a "juicy" sentence, the teacher facilitates explicit discussion about the language structure, word choice, and layers of meaning found in the example.
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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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Blog: The Potential of Wordless Picture Books with English Learners

Wordless picture books can be "read" in many different ways with Multilingual Learners, both at home or in the classroom, to provide instruction on book concepts, to practice oral language fluency, and make connections between multiple languages.
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Strategy Overview: Graphic Organizers (Spanish)


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Website: Teacher Interactions and Strategies to Support Speaking for Dual Language Learners

This resource provides a list of strategies that teachers can use to support Multilingual Learners’ speaking skills. For example: Repeating and elaborating on children’s talk, reinforcing words from the unit of study, using visual cues and gestures, and providing MLs with more time to process speech.
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Website Article: Extending English Language Learners’ Classroom Interactions

This article introduces specific teacher language that can be used to promote interaction and extend opportunities for Multilingual Learners to practice academic language.
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Webinar: Supporting Dual Language Learners in the PreK Classroom

In this webinar, presenters discuss several strategies for supporting Multilingual Learners’ oral language and literacy development. Strategies include gathering information on children’s language and cultural background from families and talking with them about their language and learning goals for their children. Presenters also discuss how to display labels and functional print in multiple languages in the classroom, select content-specific words from texts and incorporate them into instruction, incorporate songs, and engage in interactive reading.
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Website Article: Many Languages, One Classroom

This article offers explicit strategies for teachers who have language-diverse classrooms. Ideas are offered on how to partner with families and set up a culturally and linguistically responsive classroom environment.
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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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Strategy Overview: Supporting Oral Language

To develop language, children need many opportunities to practice speaking. This overview describes how teachers can support families to give Multilingual Learners opportunities to practice oral language.
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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: Dialogic Reading Strategy- 2nd grade

The teacher demonstrates how multiple interactive reads of a key content-based text supports the literacy, oral language, and vocabulary development of the Multilingual Learners in the class. She explains academic and content-specific words and structures opportunities for students to elaborate on their thinking.
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Video: Dialogic Reading Strategy- Kindergarten

The teacher demonstrates how multiple interactive reads of a key content-based text supports the literacy and English language development of the Multilingual Learners in the class. She explains and reinforces target words and provides explicit instruction on book concepts and vocabulary.
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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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Video: Shared Research Project- 1st grade

In this video, the teacher provides guidance on how to conduct research projects with Multilingual Learners to investigate a topic in which children are interested. The shared research project provides a hands-on, inquiry-based experience to help give content meaning and develop academic language and literacy skills.
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Video: Shared Research Project- 3rd grade

In this video, the teacher provides guidance on how to conduct research projects with Multilingual Learners to investigate a topic children are interested in. The shared research project provides a hands-on, inquiry-based experience to help give content meaning and develop academic language and literacy skills.
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Video: Integrated Thematic Unit- 3rd grade

This video provides a rich opportunity to look inside a classroom and note the intentional supports for English language and literacy development embedded in a thematic unit of study. The teacher implements a Daily 5 structure, which allows Multilingual Learners to learn both academic language and content across multiple modalities and learning activities.
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Video: Transfer and Integrated ELD in a Bilingual Classroom

The teacher in this bilingual classroom makes an intentional plan to develop literacy and oral language skills in two languages. She begins content instruction in Spanish to strengthen Multilingual Learners' understanding of key concepts, and then purposefully transitions to an integrated ELD block to offer speaking and writing practice in English.
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Video: Integrated & Designated ELD- 2nd grade

In this integrated ELD video, the teacher uses numerous structured supports, visual cues, and small grouping strategies throughout the lesson. Multilingual Learners have multiple opportunities to practice hearing, reading, speaking, and writing academic English language.
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Video: Integrated & Designated ELD- Kindergarten

In this integrated ELD video, the teacher focuses on developing the academic English language that Multilingual Learners need to access content instruction. She uses chants, repetition, small group instruction, and numerous other supports.
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Strategy Overview: Vocabulary in Context

This resource introduces teachers to all of the ways that vocabulary can be introduced, reinforced, and practiced across multiple lessons and activities. This helps Multilingual Learners learn key academic and content words in context.
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Strategy Overview: Teacher as Language Model

This resource outlines strategies teachers can use to model and extend Multilingual Learners' oral language skills. Strategies include narration (describing what the teacher is seeing and thinking) and amplification (paraphrasing a child's statement in more complex and extended language and asking a follow-up question).
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Strategy Overview: Dramatic Play & Researcher Center

This resource describes how to implement dramatic play and researcher centers in classrooms with Multilingual Learners. Centers are tied to the thematic content of a unit and provide children with the opportunity to engage in hands-on, inquiry-based experiences that give content and language meaning and purpose.
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Strategy Overview: Sentence Patterning Chart/La tabla de formación de oraciones

This resource introduces a strategy to model and write good descriptive sentences with Multilingual Learners. It combines language-based supports with opportunities for children to practice academic vocabulary and apply it to structured, content-based writing.
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Strategy Overview: Gallery Walks

In this culminating activity at the end of a thematic unit, posters and student work are displayed around the classroom while children guide family members, teachers, or peers through the room, explaining the concepts they've learned. The opportunity to explain concepts to visitors gives children an authentic purpose for using language and demonstrating their knowledge.
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Strategy Overview: Graphic Organizers

A graphic organizer is a visual map or diagram that displays relationships between facts, concepts, or ideas. For Multilingual Learners, this kind of visual display of information can lessen cognitive load and support transfer of knowledge across languages.
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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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Strategy Overview: Content-Based Chants

Singing and chanting give children opportunities to practice using academic vocabulary in a group setting. Singing content-rich chants develops phonemic awareness and taps into musical, auditory, linguistic, intrapersonal, and bodily-kinesthetic knowledge, which helps the children retain information.
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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: Home-School Connection and Projects

Opportunities for curriculum-based learning at home help build relationships with families and support language development for Multilingual Learners. This video showcases an example of a home-school project presentation in a preschool classroom where educators provide high-quality extended talk in multiple languages and provide hands-on, inquiry-based experiences.
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Tip Sheet: Communication with Parents/Comunicación con los padres

This bilingual (Spanish) document explains to parents the benefits of speaking a home language. Advice is shared on how to develop oral home language proficiency and provide high-quality and extended talk opportunities for children.
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Video: Engaging Children with Text & Narrative

This video highlights the ways which books and texts can support literacy and oral language development for Multilingual Learners. For example, educators discuss how to introduce and explain new vocabulary words before, during, and after reading.
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Video: Complex Oral Language

This video emphasizes the importance of immersing Multilingual Learners in an environment with high-quality and extended talk in each language. Teachers can ask questions to elicit complex oral language from children.
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Video: Affirming Language, Culture & Identity

This video shares asset-based strategies for teachers to engage with families, develop the socio-emotional health of children, and set up a classroom environment to support Multilingual Learners. This resource focuses on preschool but the content applies to all grade bands. Examples come from dual language classrooms.
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Template: Personalized Oral Language Learning (POLL) Planning Grid

This resource provides a Personalized Oral Language Learning (POLL) planning grid template. The planning grid includes spaces for teachers to select words or phrases from a text and to plan on how they will use and reinforce the target words.
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Sample: Personalized Oral Language Learning (POLL) Planning Grid

This resource provides an example of a completed Personalized Oral Language Learning (POLL) planning grid. In this planning grid, the teacher has selected target words and has planned how to reinforce target words by using them throughout the day and across contexts.
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Video: Songs and Chants

In these videos, a teacher discusses the importance of using songs and chants throughout the day with Multilingual Learners. Teachers can connect songs and chants in each language to content learning and incorporate target vocabulary.
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Video: When and What to Support in Home Language

This resource discusses how to reinforce target words and provide language-rich experiences to help give language meaning and purpose. Teachers can support content learning throughout the day by previewing concepts in the home language to activate and build background knowledge.
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Video: Personalized Oral Language Learning (POLL) Using Planning Tools and Strategies

This video explains how to support Multilingual Learners’ oral language development by using a vocabulary planning document and a Personalized Oral Language Learning (POLL) planning grid. These tools help teachers select target words or phrases from a text and reinforce them throughout the day.
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Video: Supporting Home Language through Language Models

This video discusses how "language models" can support Multilingual Learners by integrating English and the home language(s) into classroom activities and conversations throughout the day. Parents and other speakers of children’s home languages can join classroom activities to support children’s development of multiple languages. Language models can provide high-quality and extended talk in each language, including a variety of questions to elicit talk from children.
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Video: Intentional Message

In these videos, a teacher explains how to create an intentional message to use with Multilingual Learners. The intentional message helps teachers reinforce target words while they interact with children.
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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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Video: Anchor Texts

In these videos, teachers discuss the importance of having an anchor text and using target words throughout the day. The videos also show how to engage in interactive reading and explain vocabulary words before, during, or after reading.
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