A great deal of school success depends upon
a student's ability to demonstrate competency through oral communication,
such as when answering questions in class or participating in
group discussions. Students who are adept at expressing their
ideas verbally are often highly successful in meeting the expectations
of school and daily life.
Students who have difficulty communicating their
ideas orally may reveal signs of hesitation, labored speech, trouble
organizing ideas, and/or an overuse of high frequency vocabulary.
In addition, students may have difficulty generating ideas or
applying concepts during classroom discussions and activities.
Here are some strategies to help students develop
their ability to communicate ideas through a focus on oral expression.
- Consider the following techniques to protect
a student from humiliation: No reading aloud in class without
an opportunity to practice; Questions that can be answered with
a one word response: Yes/No, True/False; Questions in advance
to prepare before class, etc.
- Help students strengthen their oral presentation
skills through staging procedures and plenty of support as needed.
Provide a safe environment in which students can develop skills.
For example, do not grade student presentations; consider them
an exercise in skill development.
- Incorporate oral recitation activities such
as poetry readings, parts in plays, etc. to help students build
expressive fluency and presence. Be sure not to put students
on the spot or in uncomfortable positions, but do encourage
them to challenge themselves. Give students advance practice
reading passages, poems, parts, etc. before reading aloud in
- Allow students extra time to respond to questions.
Time for thought has been shown to improve the ability to respond,
the complexity of responses, and the quality of responses of
students with and without language difficulties.
- Allow students to express themselves in ways
other than through oral discussion (e.g., writing journal entries,
matching pictures, answering true/false questions, role-playing).
- Have students arrange oral and written sentences
or paragraphs in logical, sequential order.
- Have students practice identifying the parts
of a story in terms of the beginning, middle or ending. Have
students complete stories (orally and in writing) when given
a specified beginning or ending.
- Have students explain the steps of a procedure
orally and in writing. Teach students how to make a flow chart
that breaks down a procedure into its component parts.
- Give students opportunities to apply new vocabulary
in their writing, in classroom discussions and activities, etc.
- Guide students in replacing high frequency
words in their writing and discussions with more colorful or