Northern Oral Language and Writing Through Play

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Summary of Research

NOW Play Project contributions to research are summarized here.

Read further about how our research is supporting young children’s oral language and writing through play and building teaching capacity in northern rural communities. Each topic summary includes:

  • What you need to know
  • Why this research is important
  • How this research was conducted
  • What the researcher found
  • How this research can be used
  • Keywords
  • Publications based on the research


A Systematic Review of Research on Assessment of Children’s Oral Language

Children use language not only to communicate feelings and understandings, but also to formulate, clarify, extend, and reflect on ideas and experiences. Oral language is foundational to literacy as well as to social and conceptual learning.

Northern Canadian Indigenous Children’s Use of Language and Construction of Indigenous Cultural Meanings in Play

Language contributes to literacy and learning. Research shows that teachers typical classroom interactions following Eurocentric pedagogies involve children responding to teachers’ questions. They offer limited opportunities for children’s talk. There are persistent disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children’s achievement on large-scale literacy tests and in their overall academic success.

Teacher Intervention Supporting Children’s Talk and Writing Through Play

In an era of large-scale literacy tests, there is pressure on teachers at all levels to limit the teaching of writing to developing measurable literacy skills, rather than exploring literacy practices within a wide range of social contexts. Additionally, teachers often report feeling uncertain about how to encourage and scaffold children’s talk in classrooms. This research offers specific, classroom-based ways to address these concerns.

Supporting Northern Rural and Indigenous Teachers’ Professional Learning

This research addresses issues that arise in supporting the professional learning of teachers in remote communities. It shows how long term, ongoing collaborative action research that is supported by appropriate funding, is an effective professional learning approach.

Development and Use of an Oral Language Assessment Tool

Through interactions with others, children learn new words, and use language to do many things, such as develop relationships, make requests, provide information, and express their needs or desires. They learn about the world and about cultural expectations for interacting with particular people in particular contexts. Classroom assessments of children’s language should provide space for children to show what they can do with language.