Oral language and communication

Implement professional dialogue about oral language and communication in your school or professional learning network using text-based protocols and core thinking routines for leaders.

Purpose of resource

The research snapshot and professional learning activity are part of the K-2 English toolkit. This supports leaders to unpack research with teachers, that underpins the new syllabus.

Target audience

This resource can be used by school leaders to support teachers with effective syllabus implementation.

When and how to use

The research snapshot and the professional learning activity, ‘Unpacking the evidence base’ slideshow, complement each other and are focused on the same research article. Schools might use these:

  • within whole-school professional learning sessions
  • in stage meetings
  • in professional learning groups.

These may take an hour to implement or can be modified as appropriate. The protocol used to help teachers unpack the evidence can be changed to suit the professional learning context.

Research base

The evidence base for this resource is:


Email questions, comments and feedback about this resource to contactcurriculumreform@det.nsw.edu.au using subject line ‘Re English K-2 Research toolkits’.

Alignment to system priorities and/or needs – School Excellence Policy (nsw.gov.au), School Excellence Procedure

Alignment to School Excellence Framework – ‘Instructional leadership’ and ‘High expectations culture’ elements in the Leading domain as well as the ‘Learning and development’ and ‘Collaborative practices and feedback’ elements of the Teaching domain.

Alignment with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers – 6.2.4 and 6.3.4

Consulted with – Literacy and numeracy team and principal school leadership representatives

Reviewed by: CEYPL director and CSL director

Created/last updated: 28 February, 2022

To be reviewed: December, 2022

SOLAR: ‘The science of language and reading'

Research article – Snow P (2020) SOLAR: ‘The science of language and reading Child Language Teaching and Therapy

Being able to read and write is profoundly transformative, both for individuals and for population level health and wellbeing more widely. Snow P (2020) page 1

Overview of research

  • Unlike oral language, reading is not a natural or primary skill.

  • Reading promotes oral language development through exposure to high-order vocabulary and complex language structures.

  • SOLAR framework places language at the centre of the reading process and closely considers social and emotional contexts in which oral language and reading ability develop.

  • It is possible to conceptualise the processes involved in promoting oral language and reading as a ‘house’:

    • solid ground – emotional and interpersonal experience of infancy
    • strong foundations – oral language development in the pre-school years, development of pro-social interpersonal skills and development of reading and writing skills
    • structural beam – social-emotional and behaviour wellbeing
    • the roof – access to the social and economic mainstream.
  • The different sections of ‘the house’ are interdependent, as are oral language skills and reading. For example, vocabulary development and syntactic competency.

Professional discussion and reflection prompts

  • What was the most important observation you made from the research and why?
  • How does this research resonate with your own understanding and observations of the relationship between language development and reading?
  • What questions does this research raise for you?

Professional learning activity

Oral language SOLAR (PPTX 2 MB)


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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