This section describes ways to help beginning readers practise their word‐attack skills. These strategies include
- Language Experience Approach
- Reading aloud with your student
- Reading and writing ideas
- Cloze exercises
Language Experience Approach
The Language Experience Approach is especially useful for developing texts to use for reading practise with older students. Although children’s books may seem ideal as they have a limited simple vocabulary, often these books are not appropriate for use with high school students.
When beginning readers read, they need to do many things at once: sound out words, understand words and grasp the overall idea of a text. This can be very frustrating for beginning readers. One solution is the Language Experience Approach (Stauffer, 1980). This approach creates stories using a student’s own words and ideas. When students read a text that has been written using their own words and ideas, they need to focus only on the word‐attack skills.
How to use the Language Experience Approach
The following is a description of how to use the Language Experience Approach with one student; however, this approach can be used very successfully with a group of students.
- Ask the student to choose something to write about. The student may wish to write a letter, a story or a poem or simply about activities of the previous weekend.
- Brainstorm with the student a few ideas about the piece. If it is a story, for example, who are the characters? What kind of story will it be - a mystery, an adventure, a romance? Discuss the main events. The student may find it useful to begin with an outline.
- Have the student dictate the piece to you. Print the student’s words precisely. Say each word aloud as you write it down. Do not correct the student’s grammar or change the words. After the story is written, you can edit it together.
- When the student is finished dictating the piece, read it back. At this point, the student may want to edit the text by changing the wording, fixing grammar errors or adding ideas. Give positive feedback.