Picture a classroom where every spoken word weaves a stronger foundation for reading and writing.

Let’s look at the profound impact of oral language development on children learning to read and write.

♫ Bees, bees, bees, bees
Buzzing in bushes
And buzzing in trees.
Buzzing around
Wherever the please,
There’s nothing as sweet
As sweet as honey bees. ♫

From Flying Start to Literacy: PHONICS™ The Big Book of Rhymes

How many of you found yourself singing that rhyme, while making a rhythm as you clap your hands, snap your fingers, or stomp your feet? Now imagine everyday your students get to be a linguistic maestro, playing with sounds, rhythms, and patterns of speech with these rhymes and activities.

There are many benefits achieved with these oral language development activities, such as developing and strengthening phonological awareness, improved reading skills, vocabulary building as students learn new words and their meaning in the contexts of the songs and poems, improved listening skills, building motor skills and coordination by clapping the syllables, and the many opportunities for social interaction and engagement among students as they work together, listen to each other and participate in group learning. These language-learning activities provide a multisensory approach to learning, combining auditory, visual, and kinesthetic experiences, which is highly beneficial for young learners.

As we can see, oral language development isn't just part of learning to read and write; it’s a cornerstone.

The journey to literacy begins with spoken words. By engaging students in fun and engaging oral language activities, we promote the understanding and use of spoken words, and lay the groundwork for decoding, word recognition, vocabulary expansion, and grammar skills.

Download the Flying Start to Literacy: PHONICS™ Brochure at https://flying-start-phonics.myokapi.com and look at the sample oral language lesson on page 6. Observe the goals under the section titled “Oral Language Development: Say It.” Jot down how many different skills you can teach with that one rhyme. Can you increase the level of complexity to meet the needs of the various learners in your class? Did you change the punctuation in the last sentence to an exclamation point to teach a grammar and/or fluency lesson? Most importantly, are you keeping it fun and engaging for both you the teacher and the learner?

Just remember to keep the learning interactive and fun as you set the foundation to build joy-filled readers and writers! Nilaja Taylor.