The PYP has identified three strands-oral language, visual language, written language-that are learned across and throughout the curriculum, with each strand being an integral component of language learning.

Language Strands

Oral Language - Listening and Speaking

Oral language encompasses all aspects of listening and speaking-skills that are essential for ongoing language development, for learning and for relating to others. Listening and speaking work together in a transactional process between listeners and speakers. Listening involves more than just hearing sounds. It requires active and conscious attention in order to make sense of what is heard. Purposeful talk enables learners to articulate thoughts as they construct and reconstruct meaning to understand the world around them. Oral language involves recognizing and using certain types of language according to the audience and purposes (for example, the language used at home, the language of the classroom, the language of play, the language of inquiry, conversations with peers, giving instructions, interpreting creative texts, the language of fantasy, the language of different generations, of different times and places).

Visual Language - Viewing and Presenting

Viewing and presenting are fundamental processes that are historically and universally powerful and significant. Viewing and Presenting involve interpreting, using and constructing visuals and multimedia in a variety of situations and for a range of purposes and audiences. They allow students to understand the ways in which images and language interact to convey ideas, values and beliefs. Visual texts may be paper, electronic or live, observable forms of communication that are consciously constructed to convey meaning and immediately engage viewers, allowing them instant access to data. Examples of visual texts are: advertisements, brochures, computer games and programs, websites, movies, posters, signs, logos, flags, maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, illustrations, graphic organizers, cartoons and comics. Learning to interpret this data, and to understand and use different media, are invaluable life skills.

Written Language - Reading

Reading is a developmental process that involves constructing meaning from text. The process is interactive and involves the reader’s purpose for reading, the reader’s prior knowledge and experience, and the text itself. Reading helps students to clarify their ideas, feelings, thoughts and opinions. Literature offers students a means of understanding ourselves and others, and has the power to influence and structure thinking. Well-written fiction provides opportunities for students to imagine themselves in another’s situation, reflecting on feelings and actions, and developing empathy. The ability to read and comprehend non-fiction is essential for the process of inquiry. As inquirers, students identify, synthesize and apply useful and relevant information from text.

Written Language - Writing

Writing is a personal act that grows and develops with the individual. Writing allows students to organize and communicate thoughts, ideas and information in a visible and tangible way. Writing is primarily concerned with communicating meaning and intention. Writing involves developing a variety of structures, strategies and literary techniques (spelling, grammar, plot, character, punctuation and voice) and applying them with increasing skill and effectiveness.

Source: Making the PYP happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education 2009