What’s all the talk about ‘Oral Language’?

What is Oral Language?

Oral language is what we say. It’s the use of spoken words to successfully engage with others. It enables us to build relationships and it is a crucial foundation for learning. Oral language involves our knowledge of words, sounds and grammar (i.e. semantic, phonological and syntactic knowledge).

Why is Oral Language Important?

Strong oral language skills are important for:

  • Interacting with peers
  • Building relationships
  • Transitioning to numeracy and literacy
  • Developing reading comprehension
  • Learning in the classroom
  • Academic success

Children need well-developed oral language skills to be prepared for school-based learning. Oral language is the foundation for the transition to literacy. Poor oral language is associated with struggles learning to read and write, and challenges fully engaging in the learning environment.

Strong oral language is vital for forming strong peer relationships. Children who struggle with friendships are at greater risk of developing mental health and behavioural issues.

What about my child?

Australian research has found that 17% of 4 year olds do not have the oral language skills to adequately prepare them for the classroom environment. If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language it is important that you seek help before your child begins school.

My child may not be saying as much or speaking as well as other children the same age, but won’t he catch up when he gets to school?

The classroom is an environment immersed in language. Children are expected to start school with well-developed oral language skills, ready to use their knowledge of sounds, words and sentences to begin learning to read and write. Oral language is the crucial link between your preschooler and his academic success. Children who start school with underdeveloped oral language are not ready for the rigours of the classroom. Whilst other children are learning to read, the child with weak oral language will need to put their energies into building language skills before they are ready to transition to literacy. The gap between those who are ready to read and those who are still building their language foundation will only increase over time. Key learning opportunities will be missed as the child struggles to read while those who are better prepared take off with their learning.

Newcastle Speech Pathology can help

At Newcastle Speech Pathology we are committed to assisting every child reach their learning potential. We can assess your child’s language and literacy skills and tailor an individual plan to strengthen their oral language skills. Call Newcastle Speech Pathology today to discuss your child’s needs and and how we can help them achieve their learning potential.

Will your child be school-ready in 2015?

Written by Alison
Speech Pathologist
Newcastle Speech Pathology