Oral Language Readers

Oral Language Readers

Purpose of the Language Readers

The language readers in the Oral Language Development Series were designed to support oral language development through interaction with text, as it is the foundation of learning to read and write.

“In achieving literacy, young children need writing to help them learn about reading, they need reading to help them learn about writing, and they need oral language to help them learn about both.” (Oral Language and Early Literacy in Preschool: Talking Reading and Writing, 2nd Ed., Roskos, Kathleen A., Tabors, Patton O., Lenhart, Lisa A., 2009 IRA)

Series Overview

The language readers are built in an order based on the complexity of language structures. The entry level is a wordless picture book that can be used to initiate conversation with the child and/or assess a child’s control over oral language. The language readers progress from simple sentences, to simple sentences with prepositional phrases, to sentences connected by conjunctions. The language readers then combine prepositional phrases and conjunction structures before moving on to more complex syntax. The most complicated of the language readers in this series include multiple structures and are labeled language structure 7.

Oral Language Development Series Number of Books Per Language Structure

This series includes transformations (a change in word order) in language structures 1–4. Beginning at language structure 2 the themes contain a moveable (change in phrase order). Additionally, for the earliest language structure lateral books are provided that give the students extra practice with that structure if needed.

Oral Language Development Series Language Structure Coding

The initial target for this series is pre-K to 2nd grade, to support English learners of all language backgrounds. The books might also be considered for use with older readers who are newcomers to English.

Using the Readers

The readers can be used one on one, in small groups and whole class depending on the teacher’s purpose and organization of instruction.

  1. Begin with the wordless book showing the pictures for the entire book and engage the students in talking about the pictures.

  2. Based on observations from the wordless book the teacher should decide to start with the simple sentence structure or move to a more complex structure. Some indicators are described in the following table.

After determining the language structure book to use, the following are possible instructional choices to develop oral language:

  • Read the book to the student(s)

  • Share read the book with the student(s)

  • Have the students read the book in small group or guided setting. (These books are not intended to be used primarily as guided reading leveled texts.)

How to Use Language Readers 

    Watch a Video on Using the Language Readers

    Using Oral Language Readers

    Learn More and Browse Selection

    Click here to flip through our download the teacher's guide, which explains in a great deal more detail how the series is structured and gives examples of teacher talk. To purchase books in the series and see the themes available, click here.

    Download the Overview and Coding System

     Using Oral Language ReadersLanguage Readers Coding System