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Oracy – 11 of the best resources for KS1 and KS2

Improve primary pupils' speaking skills by explicitly teaching oracy in the classroom, with these activities, ideas and other teaching resources...

  • Oracy – 11 of the best resources for KS1 and KS2

What is oracy?

Coined in the 1960s by British researcher and educator Andrew Wilkinson, ‘oracy’ describes the ability to express yourself fluently in speech.

1 | Why you should teach oracy in the classroom

The ability to use speech clearly and with confidence is crucial for successful outcomes – in literacy and in life, says Sue Drury.

In this article, Sue explains how oracy covers many different aspects, ranging from basic features such as the volume, clarity, pace and tone of the delivery, to broader considerations such as respecting the audience, listening and taking turns.

Then of course there’s choice of words, rhetoric and content, not to mention the ability to organise and explain your ideas verbally.

Fortunately, she goes on to show, there are lots of ways to practise all these skills within your lessons without devouring huge chunks of your teaching time.

Read how here.

2 | Oracy in the curriculum

Silence isn’t always golden, says Nicky Pear – and a curriculum that neglects spoken language risks leaving children voiceless, permanently.

So, Nicky’s school came to the conclusion that spoken communication skills were the missing link in its curriculum and decided to promote oracy to have equal standing alongside maths and literacy.

In the middle of the ‘Ofsted window’, this was certainly a risk, but given that they felt it was what their pupils needed, one that they were more than willing to take.

Read how they managed here.

3 | Seven ways to boost public speaking skills

Help children discover their public-speaking talents with these seven pro-speaker secrets from Graham Shaw that will enhance their confidence and impact.

Check them out here.

4 | Standard English vs non-standard English

Knowing the differences between standard and non-standard English, formal and informal language, is obviously a key language skill when speaking, whether you’re addressing an audience or speaking one on one.

These activities can help pupils get to grips with when to use which, and why. Click the links to check them out.

5 | Use performance poetry to boost oracy skills

Starting secondary school can be especially tough for students who struggle with literacy, says Imran Hafeez, so here’s how to give them a voice.

In this article he outlines how to use performance poetry to give students who struggle with literacy a way to speak out.

Read it here.

6 | Figurative language resources

Another trait of great speakers is the ability to use figurative language – metaphors, similes, personification – to get their point across.

This selection of resources will help with those skills

7 | Teach speech conventions with knock, knock jokes

To many children, the rules and conventions of direct speech are an unfathomable challenge of where and when to use commas, inverted commas, full stops and capital letters. Enter the humble knock, knock joke.

This resource sheet uses a small-steps approach to slowly scaffold children through the rules and conventions of dialogue.

Download it here.

8 | Speaking and listening or reading and writing

Adept speakers – those who can emote their work and connect with their audience, who bring their work to life in a meaningful and purposeful way – argue Lee Parkinson and John Murray, are the learners who possess greater depth.

This is why we need to pay much more attention to speaking and listening, and why they’re so much more than the poor cousins of reading and writing.

See their tips here.

9 | Public speaking activities

Public speaking doesn’t come naturally to everyone, says Alison Davies – but these fun activities can help students develop the skills they need to succeed.

Find out how to turn your students into great public speakers here.

10 | Boost talking and writing with Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree

Best known for his beloved picturebook, The Arrival, Shaun Tan wrote and illustrated this story five years earlier.

Told through beautiful illustrations and one long poetic sentence that runs throughout, The Red Tree offers upper KS2 students to develop key reading skills, and can be linked to PSHE, art, music and computing.

Download this resource here.

11 | Using spoken language to explore senses

This activity uses exploratory learning activities to develop pupils’ spoken language skills.

By interacting with a natural environment and taking part in a series of activities that explore their senses, pupils will articulate answers and opinions, give well-structured descriptions and narratives, and participate in discussions.

Get it here.

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