Why the focus on oral language?

Oral language provides the foundation for learning to read and the other five major components are extremely critical to the development of independent reading as identified in the report of the National Reading Panel (NICHD, 2000).


SES Differences in Language Processing Skill and Vocabulary

Authors: Anne Fernald, Virginia A. Marchman, and Adriana Weisleder

Description: This research revealed both similarities and striking differences in early language proficiency among infants from a broad range of advantaged and disadvantaged families. English-learning infants (n = 48) were followed longitudinally from 18 to 24 months, using real-time measures of spoken language processing.

Publisher: Dev Sci. 2013 March ; 16(2): 234–248. doi:10.1111/desc.12019.

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Teaching Oral Language

Author: John Munro

Description: Building a firm foundation using ICPALER in the early Primary Years. Oral language is widely recognised as an essential foundation for successful school learning. Until recently, the acquisition of oral language skills has been largely overshadowed by reading, writing, spelling and numeracy and has not been considered a key component of school curricula.

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Oral Language Competence and Risk in Early Life.

Author: Pamela Snow

Description: Dr Pam Snow presented at the Catholic Education Office (Melbourne) Student Services Conference, 31 August, 2011. Her presentation addressed the following :

  • Factors that promote Oral Language Competence (OLC) in early life
  • Why does OLC matter across the lifespan?
  • Current research on OLC in high-risk young males
  • What do these findings mean for the young person at-risk in the early years / already in the justice system?
  • What can schools do?
Click here to view the Powerpoint.
First Steps: Oral Language Developmental Continuum

Author/Publisher: Education Department of Western Australia

Description: First Steps is a teaching resource in Oral Language, that helps teachers create a variety of meaningful opportunities for students to use language for a range of audiences and purposes. The resource includes a detailed Developmental Continuum that supports teachers as they assess students’ use of language in the school setting. First Steps provides a framework for linking assessment with teaching and learning. It was researched and developed over five years by the Education Department of Western Australia.

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Oral Language Checklists

Author: Dr John Munro

Description: You can use the ICPALER oral language screening profile (brief) (OLSPB) to collate how often a student or a group of students shows each aspect of ICPALER. A higher rating on this chart suggests more effective use of the aspect. This will identify the students whose language use may not be appropriate.

From this you can see which students merit a more in-depth profile. You can use this chart to identifying those students whose language use may not be appropriate. For this you can use
the ICPALER Oral language observational profile (in depth) (OLSPD). It gives you an observational profile of a child’s oral language in the classroom. A higher rating for this chart suggests greater difficulty or less mature language development.

Links: Click below to download the checklists as spreadsheets

Brief In Depth
The Language Support Program (LSP)

Author: Dr John Munro

Description: The Language Support Program (LSP) provides direct assistance to teachers in developing sound oral language competency in children and young people to maximise their learning potential. An assumption of the Professional Learning Guide is that both teachers and learners will be operating in Standard Australian English. While the Language Support Program provides a sound theoretical framework, teaching strategies and other support material that are relevant for all students, the program was primarily developed with the needs of speakers of Standard Australian English in mind.

Language Support Professional Learning Guide 1 (80 pages) Language Support Professional Learning Guide 2 (106 pages)
Oral Language Competence, Social Skills and High-risk Boys: What are Juvenile Offenders Trying to Tell us?

Author/Publisher: Snow and Powell

Description: A cross-sectional study examining the oral language abilities and social skills of male juvenile offenders. Fifty juvenile offenders and 50 non-offending controls completed measures
of language processing and production, and measures of social skill and IQ. Young offenders performed significantly worse on all language and social skill measures. Just over half of the
young offenders were identified as language impaired.

Oral Language Competence, Social Skills and High-risk Boys
Support a Talker

Description: Support a Talker is a school based oral language program for lower primary students using barrier games, conversation, books and Oral Language games

For more information contact:

Speech Language Pathologist-in-Charge
Education Queensland
Logan Albert Beaudesert District Office
Ph: (07) 3804 9632
Fax: (07) 3807 4943


English Continuum > Listening and Speaking > Indicators of Progress

Description: The English Developmental Continuum P-10 provides evidence based indicators of progress, linked to powerful teaching strategies, aligned to the progression points and the standards for the English Domain of the Victorian Essential Learning Standards. These teaching strategies are designed to support purposeful teaching of individuals and small groups of students with similar learning needs. It is intended that teachers use the strategies in the context of their own classrooms, text or topic being taught.

Visit the Website - Indicators of Progress (in Speaking and Listening, English Continuum)
The Language Support Program (LSP)

Description: The Language Support Program (LSP) is a substantial program comprising direct assistance to teachers in developing strong oral language competency in children and young people to maximise their learning potential. It is founded on a framework of empirical evidence, which acknowledges that improved teacher knowledge and skills, conveyed in explicit teaching, respond to students’ readiness to learn, and result in positive learning outcomes. The Language Support Program is based on the extensive research of Dr John Munro (The University of Melbourne).

Visit the Website Language Support Professional Learning Guide 1 (80 pages) Language Support Professional Learning Guide 2 (106 pages)
Listening and Speaking Strategies (for EAL students)

* EAL – English as an Additional Language

Description: These teaching strategies provide a range of practical ways of supporting the English learning of EAL students. Each of the listed strategies identifies the dimension/s on which it is focused (Speaking and Listening, Reading, Writing), the EAL stages for which it is most useful, its purpose, the steps involved in using it, and how it is particularly helpful for EAL students.

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Elizabeth Love and Sue Reilly – Speech and Language Products

Description: Elizabeth Love and Sue Reilly are Speech Language Pathologists who also have qualifications in education. They have worked extensively with individuals who have speech and language impairment and have a particular interest in the relationship between language and literacy development. ‘Love and Reilly’ create affordable products for promoting oral language and literacy in the general classroom, whilst at the same time meeting the needs of language learning disabled individuals. Elizabeth and Sue are also committed to community education about the impact of language on literacy, learning and life skills.

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ELR Software

Designed by Speech Pathologists
Intended for clinicians, teachers and parents
Encourages spontaneous, web-based activities

Description: ELR software produces a range of computer programs designed by speech pathologists for speech, language & literacy support. These programs are designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between client and clinician. The programs may be used within therapy, to increase efficiency in service delivery using the Internet and CD based materials, and to improve access to the Internet for people with special needs.

A yearly subscrition fee is required, however, there are plenty of free downloads and trial sections.

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The Hanen Centre: Helping You Help Children Communicate

Description: The Hanen Centre is a Canadian not-for-profit charitable organization committed to supporting parents, early childhood educators and speech-language pathologists in their efforts to promote the best possible language, social and literacy skills in young children.

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If you have any practical resources, please email details to Brenda b.dalheim@unimelb.edu.au (and identify which category to list them under).