Oral Language

Oral language is a system through which spoken words can be used to express, receive and understand information, ideas and feelings.

Oral language forms the foundation for academic success.


1 min


Early Years Learning Framework

  • Children are connected with and contribute to their world
  • Children are confident and involved learners
  • Children are effective communicators

Australian Curriculum English Foundation Year

NSW English Syllabus

  • Communicates effectively by using interpersonal conventions and language with familiar peers and adults. (ENE-OLC-01)
  • Understands and effectively uses Tier 1 and Tier 2 words in familiar contexts. (ENE-VOCAB-01)
  • Understands and responds to literature read to them. (ENE-UARL-01)

National Literacy Learning Progressions (LPs)



2 minutes

Oral language forms the foundation of literacy and academic success. A solid foundation of oral language helps children become successful readers, strong communicators, as well as increasing their confidence and overall sense of well-being.

Oral language is developed through telling, sharing and listening to stories. Telling stories is how humans traditionally pass knowledge from generation to generation.

Engaging children in oral storytelling (without the use of a printed book) is an effective teaching practice for oral language development.

Storytelling is a special way of sharing ideas, language, and stories.


10 minutes

Some ideas for learning in the everyday

  • Spend time with your child:
    • telling stories
    • listening to stories
    • sharing stories
  • Share and read Dreamtime stories with your child.
  • Tell a story through dance or drawing.
  • Look at a piece of art – discuss how it makes you feel. Tell a story about the artwork
  • For teachers – send out a weekly message to parents – everyday opportunity of the week e.g. choose a piece of artwork and tell a story and link to syllabus outcomes.

Books to read with your child:
Scaly-tailed Possum and Echidna by Cathy Goonack The Lizard Gang by Kirra Somerville Big Rain Coming by Katrina Germein Little Bird’s Day by Sally Morgan



30 minutes

Reflect on your knowledge and practice
Consider the EYLF, NSW Syllabus and LPs:

  • Where have these children come from?
  • Where are you taking them?

Think about the learning that happens in your classroom that builds the knowledge and skills for oral language.

What do you expect from the early learner?

What do you want parents to know about oral language?

How is oral language used across the curriculum?

Consider this skill – What are the connections between literacy and numeracy?

This is an opportunity to share what oral language looks like in your classroom.


45 minutes

Engage in a learning conversation with parents
Suggested conversation starters:

  • Is there anything in the video that challenged your thinking about learning?
  • What foundational oral language skills did you see in the video?
  • How are the children:
    • Practising their skills?
    • Testing their ideas?
    • Building their knowledge?
  • What opportunity can you create or do you have at home that develops oral language?