The first way a child learns vocabulary and language is through speech. Speech from others in the right context. Later on children learn through reading, however the problem with reading is that it is more difficult to understand the meaning from a written context. What is missing from this is the body language and oral meanings that you gain from the physical surroundings.

The only way that children can really embed new language is to hear it and use it themselves in context. If they haven’t spoken it themselves then they probably won’t be able to understand it in reading or be able to use it in writing.

‘It is through hearing new language and using it in speech that children will be able to read it, write it and use it with fluency.’ (Stott, Gaunt, 2019)

Alice Stott, School 21 took a group of pupils to City Hall to listen to the Mayor of London taking questions from assembly members. She said herself it was a bit of a gamble as she worried the children may not understand enough about what was going on or take on board the language however what she actually found was very pleasing. The children listened attentively to the discussion and afterwards they dissected the discussion that they had heard. They had picked up on the body language, they picked up on how the Mayor was able to mask anything he couldn’t answer and how he played the room. All this shows their learning about Oracy really enabled them to gain from listening to this conversation. There may well have been elements that they did not understand but listening to challenging texts and discussions provides something to aspire to and encourages the use of new vocabulary.

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