Oral Language: A “Hot Topic” In Literacy Education - MindWing Concepts, Inc.

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Oral Language: A “Hot Topic” In Literacy Education

by Maryellen Rooney Moreau September 28, 2015 2 min read

Today I am finishing up details for an ongoing consultation that I have with a school system here in Massachusetts pertaining to Language Learning Disabilities. I am, as you know, an ASHA certified Speech/Language Pathologist. Most of my professional life—over forty years—has been spent researching and working with children who have reading disabilities (from the code to comprehension) and how the children and their reading are impacted by oral language deficits/differences. Consequently, in addition to ASHA, I belong to several other associations and look forward to the arrival of their journal publications. One of these associations is the International Literacy Association, formerly known as the International Reading Association. The IRA publishes The Reading Teacher and The Journal of Adult and Adolescent Literacy.

As an SLP with a great interest in reading and writing, I enjoy the points of view of authors within these publications and use the articles to provide discussion among the educators with whom I work.

This issue of the IRA’s publication Literacy Today (Volume 33, Issue 2 (http://www.literacyworldwide.org/get-resources/em-literacy-today-em-magazine) contains the twentieth compilation of data related to “What’s Hot” in literacy education. I find this very interesting each time it is published. It contains the opinions of “25 literacy leaders across North America and the world” concerning the “attention that various topics were receiving in the field of reading education.” As noted in the article, the emphasis is on the word attention (my italics), not importance.

For example:

  • Disciplinary Content and Struggling Readers are two of the topics that are “hotter” for this 2016 survey than in 2015.
  • One hundred percent of the experts noted that Adolescent Literacy and Academic/Argumentative Writing “should be hot.”
  • Most important to me, 75% of this panel has recommended that a new topic, Oral Language, should be added to the list. Presently, attention to this topic is rated as “very cold” but this topic of oral language was rated by these 75% of the experts as “should be hot.” It is important to note that in the article addition of new items (topics) relate to new reading literacy trends.

I have noted the focus on oral language in several of the articles within The Reading Teacher this year.


What should the addition of oral language to the What’s Hot list mean to Speech/Language Pathologists in our work with students having reading difficulties? These oral language areas, in my opinion, should be “very hot.” These areas have been my personal focus in research and practice for over 45+ years!

Oral language development, especially scaffolding at the sentence and discourse levels, is our focus here at MindWing Concepts, Inc. I encourage you to look at our tools and approach, especially MindWing Concept’s newest product, “Oral Discourse Strategies.”

All of our tools, as well as our extensive on-line lessons that available at no cost, will assist you in collaborative efforts as you work with literacy professionals within your “settings.”

Maryellen Rooney Moreau
Maryellen Rooney Moreau

Maryellen Rooney Moreau, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, is the founder of MindWing Concepts. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Disorders at University of Massachusetts at Amherst as a Commonwealth Honors Scholar, and a Masters of Education in Communication Disorders at Pennsylvania State University. Her forty-year professional career includes school-based SLP, college professor, diagnostician, and Coordinator of Intervention Curriculum and Professional Development for children with language learning disabilities. She designed the Story Grammar Marker® and has been awarded two United States Patents. She has written more than 15 publications and developed more than 60 hands-on tools based on the SGM® methodology. Maryellen was awarded the 2014 Alice H. Garside Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Dyslexia Association, Massachusetts Branch.

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