Gail Rice: Language Experience Approach

Since writing is one of the last skills to develop, native speakers of English who are not proficient in reading are less likely to be proficient in writing. Students that have been shamed in the past for their failures in writing, may dislike writing and write as little as possible.  ESL (English as a Second Language) learners may also experience the same problems because they are aware of their mistakes speaking English.  Thus, ESL and native speaking students are less likely to write because they do not want to see a paper loaded with red marks and corrections.

The language experience approach (LEA) is a powerful tool for tutors to use with any learner who has enough conversational ability to carry on simple conversations, even if that person has no reading skills at all.  It uses the language of the learner, dictated to and written down by the tutor, as the basis of the reading material.  The material is then familiar and understandable since it is based on the learner’s experience, making it easier to read.

But what if learners make grammatical or other mistakes when dictating to the tutor?  What about mistakes that native speakers and ESL learners make in their own writing?

Some tutors feel that they should correct all mistakes and if not they are reinforcing those mistakes.  But such an approach defeats the purpose of the LEA and ensures that struggling writers will become more discouraged and less likely to write.

These issues and others will be discussed at the Tutor Celebration of Learning Seminar offered by the Florida Literacy Council and the Adult Literacy League on the morning of September 17, 2011.

Don’t Miss FLC’s Virtual Tutor/Teacher Trainings

FLC is offering TWO virtual tutor/teacher trainings this month.  These trainings are free; participants need to have telephone and internet access simultaneously to participate.  Click here to read the presenters’ bios. These training sessions are specifically designed to assist literacy tutors and teachers.

TRAINING 1

  • Training Topic: Strategic Reading Instruction to Improve Comprehension for Struggling Reader
  • Date: June 22
  • Time: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. 
  • Instructor: Iris Strunc, Northwest Florida State College
  • Description: Although many school hours are devoted to reading instruction, many students simply do not understand what they read.  This training will explain how strategic analysis of text can help focus struggling readers on the text and task in front of them.  Participants will be shown specific comprehension strategies using highlighters, post-it notes and index cards to assist ineffective readers to analyze and comprehend text better.  

 TRAINING 2

  • Training Topic: Effective Vocabulary Instruction for the Struggling Adult Learner
  • Date: June 30
  • Time: 12:00-1:30 p.m.
  • Instructor: Cecilia A. Hicks, Florida State College at Jacksonville
  • Description: Many adult learners struggle with reading for a variety of reasons. This workshop will explore several of these reasons and offer instructors  research-  and evidence-based solutions to this literacy dilemma. The primary focus of this training will be on vocabulary development. Participants will leave with proven strategies and activities designed to foster vocabulary development in the adult learner.

HOW IT WORKS

Participate from the comfort of your own home or office.  All you need is a telephone and access to the Internet. We will send you a toll-free number and web address (URL) when you register. On the evening of the workshop, you simply join the conference call and go to the web site which will allow you to access the slide show. 

Register today

Questions?  Contact Yari Payne at payney@floridaliteracy.org or (407) 246-7110 ext. 203. 

These trainings are collaborative learning events brought to you by the Florida Adult Literacy Resource Center, a program of the Florida Literacy Coalition. These trainings are made possible through the support of the Florida Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education.