Illalong News

  • 12th June, 2019

The Role of Early Oral Language Within Our Classrooms

At the beginning of this term, I was very fortunate to attend a professional development conference called The Big Talk. This conference outlined the importance of rich oral language discussions with children, both at home and at school, as well as introducing students to VCOP. The term ‘VCOP’ stands for Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation. One component of VCOP is to develop students’ writing skills through talk. There is evidence to suggest that if a child can’t say it, they can’t write it, therefore, children who talk productively and as participants in real and rich conversations, are more proficient writers.

In Year 1 this term, the students have been engaging in The Big Talk process, as well as consolidating their understanding of VCOP. Each week, we select an interesting image to use as a stimulus for class discussions – some of these images have been included below. After viewing these stimulus images, students are given the opportunity to talk to each other, as well as to the teacher about anything that comes into their minds, relating to that stimulus. As a class, we discuss and describe each image, welcoming different thoughts and responding to questions. The purpose of this is to allow all students to verbally share as many ideas and words as possible; with the view to explore new and exciting vocabulary along the way whilst engaging in rich language stimulation.

As vocabulary plays an important role in fostering reading development, these oral language discussions assist students in consolidating their literacy development, which yields strong readers and writers later in life. Here are some examples of spoken ‘juicy’ sentences by our very own Year 1 students!

“Wow! I see a fierce shark fast approaching! He is swimming over there by the tiny little fish. I wonder if he is going to gobble them all up?” Nicholas Rosenboom

“The miniature mouse scattered quickly across the room. Oh no, the huge cat is coming!” Olivia Allen

“The enormous cat is rambling across the kitchen floor. I wonder if the mouse will be able to escape?” Benjamin Espie

The Year 1 Big Talk and VCOP journey will continue next term – so stay tuned for further details!

Trent Davis – Year 1 Teacher 

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