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Literacy: An Evolving Set of Skills

How Do Oral Language Skills Develop?

Children learn language from the day they are born through use, and over time, without formal instruction. Thus, learning language is a rapid, natural process that develops through imitation and reinforcement. The stages of language development are universal among all humans.

However, the age and pace at which a child develops varies greatly. Children repeat what they hear (imitation), and parents respond with praise (reinforcement). Language is also learned because it works; it is a powerful tool for communicating needs and wants.

Although language will never again be learned as rapidly as it is during the first 4-5 years of life, we continue to learn how to use language throughout our lives. Helping students develop their oral language skills will help them understand words when they encounter them in print. 

Click each image below to learn more about that stage of development.





Elementary student (ages 6-11)
Adolescent (ages 12-15)


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