Developing speaking and listening skills is essential in supporting EAL learners’ development of English  language and literacy.

  •  classroom talk – creating contexts for oral language development/learning
  • teacher talk, teacher-learner interactions for language development
  • speaking as a bridge to writing
Assessing oral language

This video (6&1/2 minutes) provides ideas for how to conduct an oral language assessment of Beginning English language learners and Reception students.  For  Year 1 students where a combined assessment of both oral and written language is appropriate, it is recommended that the oral text is a recount of an event or familiar story, rather than question and answer, to allow for language towards the more written end of the register continuum.  There are detailed guidelines for the CESA EAL assessment data collection.

Oral language assessment recording and tracking proforma based on the Language and Literacy Levels .

Stimulus images can be used to elicit language for assessment with the above assessment tool.   It can be presented in the form of a digital “book” that you show to the child.  A recording sheet that is organised according to the Levels and aligns with the stimulus images can be used during the assessment.

Strategies for developing oral language

A PEN article about talking and listening strategies that promote interaction in the context of learning

An information gap (or barrier games) activity is an activity where learners are missing the information they need to complete a task and need to talk to each other to find it.   For example: Learner A has a biography of of a person with all the place names  missing, whilst Learner B has the same text with all the dates missing. Together they complete the text by describing the information they have or by asking each other questions.  

A  video demonstration of strategies a teacher of secondary new arrival students uses to develop academic oral language.   Academic Oral Language from Teddy Media on Vimeo.

Listening skills

Listening is very much an active process of selecting and interpreting information from auditory and visual clues.  EAL learners benefit from a scaffold for listening comprehension just as they would for the other macro skills.

Listening for young EAL learners – the nature of listening and how to support listening comprehension in the classroom

A planning framework for supporting listening in the classroom.

Q&A summary of what is known about the listening process.  The site relates to adult second language learners but the principles and concepts are relevant for primary and secondary EAL learners.

Strategies to scaffold EAL learners’ listening and viewing by Marie Laubie, Lexis Ed


Word stress 

Speech therapy resources

Resources for developing articulation, news talk, phonological awareness, vocabulary development etc.  These are not specifically designed for EAL students but many of the strategies will be useful for building oral language skills.

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