Oral Language and Comprehension in Preschool

Teaching the Essentials

Lesley Mandel Morrow, Kathleen A. Roskos, and Linda B. Gambrell

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
December 2, 2015
ISBN 9781462524129
Price: $78.00
166 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
December 3, 2015
ISBN 9781462524006
Price: $28.00
166 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
December 3, 2015
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $28.00
166 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $56.00 $30.80
166 Pages

Before children are readers and writers, they are speakers and listeners. This book provides creative, hands-on strategies for developing preschoolers' speaking, listening, and oral comprehension skills, within a literacy-rich classroom environment. Each chapter features helpful classroom vignettes; a section called Preschool in Practice, with step-by-step lesson ideas; and Ideas for Discussion, Reflection, and Action. The book addresses the needs of English language learners and describes ways to support students' literacy development at home. The final chapter pulls it all together through a portrait of an exemplary day of preschool teaching and learning. Reproducible forms and checklists can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8½“ x 11” size.

This title is part of the Best Practices in Action Series, edited by Linda B. Gambrell and Lesley Mandel Morrow.

“Morrow, Roskos, and Gambrell describe research-based best practices for enhancing young children’s language development and their ability to deeply understand rich topics. The discussion and reflection questions in each chapter enhance the book's value as a professional development resource; it is also an accessible guide for early childhood majors and graduate students. I really liked the numerous classroom examples, step-by-step guidelines, and checklists. Especially noteworthy is the discussion of using emerging technology in the preschool classroom.”

—Lea M. McGee, EdD, School of Teaching and Learning (Emerita), The Ohio State University

“This book highlights the critical role that oral language and comprehension practices play in young children's future learning and achievement. It presents intentional, purposeful instructional strategies and provides early educators with practical supports, including checklists, photographs, templates, classroom vignettes, and extensive resource lists.”

—Angela Yeaman, MEd, Early Learning Consultant, Living Sky School Division, Saskatchewan, Canada

“This book is going right into our list of required texts at our university. It demonstrates clearly that oral language is the foundation of nearly everything important in early childhood: reading, writing, thinking, creating, and forming meaningful relationships with others. The authors paint a colorful portrait of the kind of language-rich classroom that all preschool children deserve, including those learning a second language. This is the book that anyone studying to become a teacher of young children should start with—it shows how language should be the organizing element around which effective preschool classrooms are designed.”

—Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, EdD, Phyllis Waite Endowed Chair and CSU Professor of Early Childhood Education, Eastern Connecticut State University

“The authors explain the foundations of oral language and comprehension in preschoolers and present a multitude of instructional strategies that support these foundations, using vivid, engaging classroom- and home-based examples. Teachers and early childhood administrators will find this meaty book highly accessible, thanks to clear writing, a high level of detail, and the authors’ exceptional skill in fully integrating the 'what,' 'why,' and 'how.'”

—Judith A. Schickedanz, PhD, School of Education (Emerita), Boston University

Table of Contents

1. The Importance of Speaking and Listening in Early Literacy

2. Planning for Talking, Reading, and Writing a Lot

3. Literacy Centers and Activities

4. Nurturing Young Children’s Language and Conversational Skills

5. Developing Children’s Listening Comprehension

6. Reading with Children at Home

7. Putting It All Together in the Early Childhood Classroom

Appendix A. Selected Literature for the Preschool Classroom

Appendix B. E-Book Quality Rating Tool

Appendix C. Storytelling Ideas for Developing Comprehension

Appendix D. Guided Participation Framework

Appendix E. Recommended Resources for New and Alternative Literacies



About the Authors

Lesley Mandel Morrow, PhD, is Distinguished Professor of Literacy and Director of the Center for Literacy Development at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Her research, which she conducts with children and families from diverse backgrounds, deals with early literacy development and the organization and management of language arts programs and literacy-rich environments. Dr. Morrow has published more than 300 journal articles, chapters, and books. Her work has been recognized with awards including the Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award and the William S. Gray Citation of Merit, both from the International Reading Association (IRA; now International Literacy Association), and the Oscar S. Causey Award from the Literacy Research Association (LRA) for outstanding contributions to reading research. Dr. Morrow is past president of the IRA and is a member and past president of the Reading Hall of Fame.

Kathleen A. Roskos, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Education and School Psychology at John Carroll University, where she teaches courses in reading assessment and intervention. Formerly an elementary classroom teacher, Dr. Roskos has served in a variety of educational roles, including as director of federal programs in the public schools, department chair in higher education, director of the Ohio Literacy Initiative at the Ohio Department of Education, and a coprincipal investigator of several Early Reading First federal projects. Dr. Roskos studies early literacy development, teacher learning, and the instructional design of professional development for educators, and has published research articles, chapters, and books on these topics.

Linda B. Gambrell, PhD, is Distinguished Professor in the Eugene T. Moore School of Education at Clemson University. Her major research interests are in the areas of reading comprehension, literacy motivation, and the role of discussion in teaching and learning. She has published numerous books and articles on reading instruction, comprehension strategy instruction, and literacy motivation. She is a recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award from the IRA, the Albert J. Kingston Award from the LRA, the Laureate Award from the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers (ALER), and most recently, the Oscar S. Causey Award from the LRA. She is past president of the IRA, LRA, and ALER, and a member of the Reading Hall of Fame.


PreK teachers; early literacy specialists; preschool program administrators; teacher educators and students.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in such courses as Early Childhood Education and Early Literacy Development and Learning.