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Integrating the Five Language Domains to Promote Literacy

Instructor: Nichole Kurmaniak
Language can be divided into the domains of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension. This lesson will explore strategies to to promote students' social language, academic language, and literacy development.

Five Domains of Language

Walking into a classroom, there can be many things going on; you may see students reading in a circle or writing at their desks. They may be talking to each other about assignments and listening to their peers. What do these activities all have in common? They are all language-based activities. Classrooms are rich with language. Recognizing how language can be broken down and used will enhance student learning and growth.

Language can be divided into five domains, each of which involves a unique set of skills and can be demonstrated in a variety of activities. Addressing all areas of language ensures a rich understanding of the subject area being taught.

  1. Reading is the dynamic interaction of a reader and a text to create meaning. The reader decodes the words on the page, applies his/her prior knowledge, and creates meaning. Reading achievement is a leading factor in success in all curricular areas.
  2. Writing is the ability to effectively express ideas using written symbols. Effective writers have good knowledge of spelling, language structure, grammar, and punctuation rules. Writing is used across all curricular areas to demonstrate understanding and communicate meaning.
  3. Speaking is the ability to effectively express ideas and accurately pronounce words. Speaking is the first formalized form of communication that occurs in humans.
  4. Listening is the ability to understand what is heard. Listening is a process that involves hearing sounds, then processing and understanding what has been heard.
  5. Comprehension is the ability to read or hear language, then process and understand the language. It permeates all of the other domains because there is no language without meaning.

Students listening
Students listening

Strategies for Implementation

There are many ways to incorporate the five domains of language into daily class activities.

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