Resource Library Resource Library

Oral Language Development Oral Language Development

What is oral language development? Importance to MLs SupportEd’s approach

Oral language development is the building of Multilingual Learners’ (MLs’) speaking and listening skills to engage in academic discussions. MLs need structured peer learning opportunities that promote authentic talk using meaningful and robust language through open-ended prompts to build those oral language skills.

Peer learning opportunities provide MLs with opportunities to hear and practice discipline-specific language that supports their language acquisition, learning of academic language, and their literacy development. MLs, in particular, need the repetition and recycling of language that occurs during peer-to-peer discussions as ideas are explained and analyzed to enhance their learning and retention of new content.

Four key practices support MLs in developing skills needed for structured peer learning. SupportEd provides various solutions and practical tools to help build your understanding of oral language development and to support those key practices. For a more detailed understanding of fostering MLs’ oral language development, check out chapter 4 of Unlocking English Learners’ Potential.

Printables Printables

Observation checklist

12 Considerations for Scaffolding, Academic Language, and Oral Language DevelopmentThis checklist provides practical, research-based practices for scaffolding, academic language, and oral language development. It can be leveraged by administrators and educators for self-reflection, assessment, and peer observations; it may also be useful for strategic goal setting.


Supporting English LEarners Oral Language Development Through Academic Conversations

This infographic shares insights into nationwide challengesof EL oral language development and strategies to increase EL support in academic conversations.


Practices to Engage ELs in Academic Conversations and Encourage Oral Language Development

Despite the proven benefits of academic conversations, many ELs are still provided insufficient opportunities to engage in oral language activities and often remain largely silent during instruction. This sketch note proposes four practices to foster greater EL engagement and participation in academic conversations. Click here to read our corresponding blog post that details each practice and provides examples.


Questions for Self-Assessment with Expert “Do’s andDon’ts”

This infographic shares the do’s and don’ts of EL group work and provides three key self-reflection questions to help you reflect on and refine your teaching strategy.


Books Books

Unlocking English Learners’ Potential Unlocking English Learners’ Potential

Content teachers and ESOL teachers, take special note: if you’re looking for a single resource to help your English learners meet the same challenging content standards as their English-proficient peers, your search is complete. Just dip into this toolbox of strategies, examples, templates, and activities

Courses Courses

Strategies for Making Content Accessible to ELs Collaborative Course Strategies for Making Content Accessible to ELs Collaborative Course

In the Strategies for Making Content Accessible to ELs self-paced course, you will explore research-based practices for supporting ELs as they learn academic language and content.

Webinars Webinars

Peer Learning: Fostering MLs’ Oral Language Peer Learning: Fostering MLs’ Oral Language

Development and Content UnderstandingThis webinar deep dives into fostering Multilingual Learners’ oral language development and content understanding. In this webinar, we will: • Discuss why peer learning opportunities are essential to MLs’ oral language development and understanding of content. • Explore four key practices for fostering MLs’ engagement and participation in peer learning activities. • Apply peer learning tools and strategies to your work with MLs in your context. • Gain access to a Padlet of free tools and resources.

Presenter: Diane Staehr Fenner

Supporting ELs' Oral Language Development Supporting ELs' Oral Language Development

Supporting ELs’ Oral Language Development Through Academic Conversations webinar dives into topics such as why oral language activities are beneficial to ELs, practices for supporting ELs’ engagement and participation in academic conversations, and different types of oral language activities that you can implement in your classroom with guest co-host and EL expert, Emily Francis.

Presenters: Diane Staehr Fenner, Emily Francis and Jill Kester

Articles Articles