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Language & Literacy

Language proficiency and intercultural understanding at our core

The provision of an international education to children of all nationalities is at the core of our mission. We recognize the importance of fluency in English as a key element of personal and intellectual growth, and we foster a love of books through our engaging reading programme.  

Language learning – whether in the language of instruction (English), the host language (Norwegian), modern foreign languages, or the student’s mother tongue–is central not only to success of our curriculum, but also to the student’s ability to participate in a linguistically complex world.





It is fantastic to witness how our students' language skills develop, and how they blossom as they find confidence in using a new language. 

- Elina Pietola , ELL Teacher


English is the primary language of instruction at OIS, and is a key element of our school’s academic programme. Our diverse make-up means that ongoing language development is the shared responsibility of all teachers, parents, and students. Separate English language tuition is provided to students with low proficiency levels across all year groups.


In addition to English, all students from Years 1-10 learn the host language (Norwegian). Three different learning levels are available to students in each year group, ranging from complete beginner to native speaker. For those students in the native speaker classes (Norwegian A), participation in the Norwegian National Tests is compulsory in Years 6, 8 and 9.

Additional Modern Languages

All students in Years 8-10 choose either French or Spanish as an additional language and are encouraged to continue learning these in the Upper Secondary. To further promote these languages (as well as Norwegian as a foreign language), the Lower Secondary arranges an International Language Day each year, and Year 10 students spend a week in France or Spain or exploring Norway.

Special Language Support

For students whose mother tongue is neither English nor Norwegian, language support is offered through the channels available within the IB Diploma Programme structure–namely the School supported self-taught option, or the Special request language option.

Whenever possible, OIS forms partnerships with external language teachers to deliver Language A course options in the mother tongue of Upper Secondary students.


Read, read and read...

We place a strong emphasis on reading and literacy, with a comprehensive programme that includes book clubs, buddy reading, and a variety of other reading-focused activities.

We appreciate that a strong reading ability is essential for success in all subjects. Our goal is to foster a love of reading and a lifelong passion for learning in all of our students. 


The importance of reading extends way beyond just literature and language. A love of books is preparing our students for academic success and lifelong learning."

- John Kenneally, Reading Coordinator