Developing Oral Language in
Young Children

Building The Foundation of Literacy

This program is designed for experienced early childhood classroom teachers whose goal is to become more intentional in developing oral language skills in dual language learners, English language learners or children with limited language.

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Monthly Seminars
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Co-teaching Experiences
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Independent Study

Sampling of Seminar Topics

Having extended conversations with children

Characteristics of a language-rich classroom

Bringing stories to life through drama

Using real-life dramatic play scenarios as a tool to develop language

Highlighting children’s interests and stories

Theories of second language acquisition

Addressing misconceptions about DLLs

Nurturing relationships with children and families

The Rice Experience

Why should you choose Rice's Developing Oral Language in Young Children?

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Rice University has a rich history of bringing great minds together in service to society, with a 55-year history in the education field. School districts all over Texas trust and hire Rice graduates as valued members of their campuses.

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As educators, we understand that your time is at a premium. Developing Oral Language in Young Children consists of monthly seminars, mentored learning, and independent study and is supported by online learning. Our program maximizes your time investment and offers the flexibility to help ensure your success.

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Rice is known across the world as a top-quality university. We’ve earned that stellar reputation by drawing on our strengths: A location in one of the best cities in America and a student base of diverse, exceptional individuals.

Plan of Study

The DOL yearlong seminar will present research-based strategies for using quality children’s literature, dramatic play scenarios, and children’s interests throughout the classroom to get young children talking and sharing their stories. These strategies can provide both a strong foundation in children’s first language and a meaningful context for dual language learners. We will address the classroom environment and how to plan for and implement activities that are language-rich, open-ended, and engaging for young children. We will also explore the role of extended discourse and the teacher-child relationship in promoting oral language as well as a philosophy of parent engagement that builds upon families’ strengths and diverse life experiences.

By the end of the DOL course, participants will:

  1. Explore oral language development theory, best practices in fostering oral language development and reflect on the use of both theory and the suggested practices in their early childhood classrooms
  2. Study second language acquisition theory, best practices in teaching Dual Language Learners and reflect on the use of both theory and the suggested practices in their early childhood classrooms
  3. Implement research-based strategies for promoting oral language development through quality children’s literature, mature dramatic play, and children’s interests and stories
  4. Learn how to use families’ cultures, home languages, traditions, and stories as tools for encouraging meaningful interactions between parents and their children

This program a pre-requisite to participating in the Early Literacy Leadership Academy.


The application period will begin March 7, 2022.

Priority Application Deadline

June 1, 2021

Ready to apply?


Resuming an application: To resume an application, please log in to your student portal. You will find a saved instance of your application in the tab titled “My Applications”.

Should you have questions, please contact or Debbie Paz at

Tuition & Scholarships



Tuition is typically covered through campus-or district-based state or national funding, PTO support, participant payment, or individual donations. For more information, please contact


Rice University believes in the importance of developing teacher leaders. Developing Oral Language offers a limited number of merit based partial fellowships to highly qualified prospective students. Fellowship opportunities can be discussed once an applicant is accepted into the program.


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