Oral Language for 4th & 5th Grades

What is Oral Language?

Parent with child.

Oral Language is sometimes called spoken language. It includes speaking and listening and is the way people communicate with each other.

In 4th and 5th grades, readers are effectively participating and drawing conclusions from their discussions with others. They are able to paraphrase and summarize information and identify evidence speakers use to support their claims. Children create presentations that are organized, use appropriate formal/informal language, are adapted to their audience and task, and supported by media.

What Does it Look Like?

Why is it important to build vocabulary for oral language development?

Practice Activities

Conversation Starters: Engage in conversation with the child to build their oral language skills.  Conversation starters can serve as ice-breakers to initiate a meaningful conversation and build confidence to converse with others. Follow up by asking who, what, when, why, where, and how questions. Conversation starters (optional).

New Experiences: Give your child opportunities to participate in new experiences.  Visit museums, historical sites, theaters or discover new hobbies and interests together.  Ask questions and discuss your experiences together to build vocabulary and speaking skills.

Current Events: Talk about current events together.  Discuss with the child so they understand what is happening and how it connects to their lives, other events they may have seen or read about, and other parts of their community.

Elevator Speeches: Ask the child to pick a topic. It can be something they are learning in school, a book, hobby, or interest.  Have them to pretend they hopped on an elevator with their teacher and have until the 10th floor (about 1 minute) to tell what they know.  Take turns giving elevator speeches on different topics.  Model the activity for the child by sharing your speech first.  Next, ask the child to take a turn.

Weather Reporter: Ask the child to pretend they are a weather reporter and report the weather to you.  They may enjoy making a video recording of their weather report.

Practice Activities (with Printables)

If you don't have a printer, your child's school will print these for you.

CROWD Strategy: Use the CROWD (complete, recall, open-ended, wh- questions, and distance) strategy to ask different types of questions and begin conversation about the book, passage, or article. Access printable materials here: Trifold 1, Trifold 2, Trifold 3.

Conversation Cards: Use conversation cards any time or place to increase the child’s use and understanding of oral language.  Suggestions include at the dinner table, while waiting in a store or restaurant, and during bedtime routines.  Use follow up questions to increase the number of turns taken in a conversation.  Conversation Cards

Online Activities

No Online Activities: The best way to support oral language development is engaging in conversation with the child. Increasing the number of turns taken expands the oral language the child hears and uses. Strive for 5 or more!