Language learning and teaching (LLT) materials—like teacher‐created handouts, textbooks, and overhead transparencies—are central elements of language classrooms worldwide. Nonetheless, how language students and teachers actually engage with and deploy LLT materials has rarely been the focus of research. In response, this issue offers the first compilation of classroom‐based studies of ‘materials use’ in language education and includes research on Ojibwe, Japanese, French, and English language pedagogy. In this introductory article to the special issue, we set the stage for the 7 empirical articles by offering much‐needed definitions for the concepts of ‘LLT materials’ and ‘materials use.’ These definitions are based on a metasynthesis (i.e., an integrative qualitative analysis) of all of the materials used throughout the 7 empirical articles. Additionally, we explore sociomaterialism as a compelling and well‐suited framework for the study of materials in use. Sociomaterialism is not a unified theory but rather a research orientation that seeks to examine connections between the social and the material world. In addition to substantively and theoretically advancing the field, all the articles of this special issue also have practical implications for language pedagogy.