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81819938 using-the-language-experience-approach-with-english-language-learners-strategies-for-engaging-students-and-developing-literacy Document Transcript

  • 1. FM-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page i
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  • 4. FM-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page iv Copyright © 2008 by Corwin Press All rights reserved. When forms and sample documents are included, their use is authorized only by educators, local school sites, and/or noncommercial or nonprofit entities that have purchased the book. Except for that usage, no part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. For information: Corwin Press SAGE Pvt. Ltd. A SAGE Company B 1/I 1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area 2455 Teller Road Mathura Road, New Delhi 110 044 Thousand Oaks, California 91320 India www.corwinpress.com SAGE Ltd. SAGE Asia-Pacific Pte. Ltd. 1 Oliver’s Yard 33 Pekin Street #02–01 55 City Road Far East Square London EC1Y 1SP Singapore 048763 United Kingdom Printed in the United States of America. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Nessel, Denise D., 1943– Using the language experience approach with English language learners: strategies for engaging students and developing literacy / Denise D. Nessel, Carol N. Dixon. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4129-5504-1 (cloth: acid-free paper) ISBN 978-1-4129-5505-8 (pbk.: acid-free paper) 1. English language—Study and teaching—Foreign speakers. 2. Language experience approach in education. I. Dixon, Carol N. II. Title. PE1128.A2N374 2008 428.0071—dc22 2007052913 This book is printed on acid-free paper. 08 09 10 11 12 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Acquisitions Editor: Cathy Hernandez Editorial Assistant: Ena Rosen Production Editor: Veronica Stapleton Copy Editor: Youn-Joo Park Typesetter: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd. Proofreader: Gail Fay Indexer: Kay Dusheck Cover Designer: Rose Storey Graphic Designer: Karine Hovsepian
  • 5. FM-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page v Contents Preface vii Acknowledgments viii About the Authors xi Introduction to the Language Experience Approach 1 1. The Value of LEA for English Language Learners: An Overview 5 2. Reading From Experience for Beginners 19 3. Reading From Experience for Intermediate Students 43 4. Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 63 5. Vocabulary and Word Recognition in an LEA Program 91 6. Writing in an LEA Program 113 7. Putting It All Together 139 Appendix A: LEA and Selected State Standards 155 References 163 Index 169
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  • 7. FM-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page vii Preface W e have had considerable success through the years teaching students to read and write with the Language Experience Approach (LEA), and we have helped many teachers use it in their own classrooms. We have found the approach to be particularly effective with English language learners (ELLs) because it is so responsive to the needs of these students, including their varying levels of English proficiency and their unique experiences and perspectives. This book presents both a rationale for using LEA with ELLs and detailed practical suggestions that will help classroom teachers successfully implement the approach. Our introduction gives an overview of LEA, including a brief history of the approach, an enumeration of its major features, and a summary of its advantages for ELLs. We also briefly discuss here the primary theoreti- cal and practical considerations that point to LEA as a particularly effec- tive instructional methodology. In Chapter 1, we give a more detailed discussion of the value of LEA for ELLs, with attention to the specific needs and characteristics of these students. In addition, we explain the key features of LEA, focusing on the creation and use of student-dictated accounts that are based on the students’ experiences and that reflect the students’ level of English usage. In the process, we explain how using LEA leads to teaching reading as a communication process and to integrating the teaching of reading with the building of oral language skills and the development of students’ writing abilities. In Chapters 2, 3, and 4, we discuss specific LEA strategies for, respec- tively, ELLs who are just learning English (beginners), those who have achieved intermediate levels of fluency and confidence with English, and those who are advanced in fluency and have high levels of confidence but still need support to refine and extend their reading and writing abilities. These three chapters include detailed, practical suggestions for imple- menting LEA along with examples of student work and teacher–student dialogues to show LEA in action. In Chapter 5, we discuss the ways in which students’ vocabulary and word-recognition skills are developed in an LEA program, putting this vii
  • 8. FM-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page viii viii Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners information in a separate chapter to give it the special attention it deserves. We present general principles of word study that are the same for begin- ning, intermediate, and advanced students, and we also give specific sug- gestions for developing skills in these areas for students at all three levels of English proficiency. In Chapter 6, we focus on overarching principles of developing writ- ing abilities, discuss how reading and writing are closely connected, and explain how they are most effectively taught in conjunction with one another. We also present a framework for oral and written expression, dis- cuss how students’ writing abilities can best be developed in tandem with their speaking abilities, and present general guidelines for teaching writ- ing. In addition, we give specific suggestions for writing instruction and writing activities for students at all three levels of English proficiency. Chapter 7 contains three sample plans that show how listening, read- ing, speaking, and writing activities are coordinated in LEA programs for students at all three levels of English proficiency. In addition, the chapter includes examples of several different applications of LEA in a variety of classrooms. Taken together, the examples show how LEA can be tailored to meet the needs of a wide range of ELLs across grade levels. Some of the descriptions and examples included here appeared in our earlier book, The Language Experience Approach to Reading (and Writing), which was published by Alemany Press in 1983. We are pleased to have this opportunity to share our enthusiasm about LEA with a new genera- tion of ELL teachers while providing an updated perspective to those teachers who are already familiar with it and who may even have read our earlier book. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Through the years, we have collaborated with many teachers who have been interested in using the LEA with their students, including ELLs. We have been gratified to see the positive difference they have made in the lives of so many students and thank them for inviting us into their classrooms, for sharing their successes with us, and for giving us many opportunities to learn from them as well as share our knowledge with them. Corwin Press gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers: Rhoda Coleman Director, Urban Learning Resource and Literacy Center California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • 9. FM-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page ix Preface ix Thomas S. C. Farrell Professor of Applied Linguistics and Department Chair Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada Marta Gardner Literacy Expert Los Angeles Unified School District, California Mileidis Gort Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning University of Miami, Florida Janet Hammer Clinical Assistant Professor of Teaching, Learning, and Culture Texas A&M University, College Station Elena Izquierdo Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and Bilingual Education University of Texas at El Paso Kimberly Kyff Fifth Grade Teacher Jamieson Elementary School, Detroit, Michigan Eugenia Mora-Flores Assistant Professor of Education University of Southern California, Los Angeles Reynaldo Reyes Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education University of Texas at El Paso
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  • 11. FM-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page xi About the Authors Denise D. Nessel, PhD, has worked as a secondary English teacher, elementary reading specialist, reading clinician, university professor, dis- trict-level curriculum supervisor, co-director of a statewide staff develop- ment project, curriculum manager at educational software companies, and consultant to schools around the country and abroad. She has conducted numerous workshops and demonstration lessons for teachers and admin- istrators and has served as a consultant and writer for educational pub- lishers and multimedia firms. She has written and co-authored several books and classroom resources for teachers and a number of articles for professional journals. As an associate of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, she focuses on teaching reading and writing as think- ing processes in grades K–12. Carol N. Dixon, PhD, has worked as a reading clinician, university professor and administrator, and consultant to schools and universities around the country and abroad. In her role as a university faculty member, she directed a reading clinic and an MA in Reading/Reading Specialist Credential Program for 20 years. She has frequently conducted workshops and demonstration lessons for classroom teachers and has made numer- ous presentations at scholarly conferences in the United States and inter- nationally. She has written and co-authored books and journal articles as resources for teachers as well as over 50 research-based articles for profes- sional publications. In her current work, she focuses on classroom research that investigates the teaching of reading and writing as thinking processes, particularly to English language learners. xi
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  • 13. Ind-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 12:31 PM Page 1 Introduction to the Language Experience Approach T he Language Experience Approach (LEA) to reading instruction is based on principles of learning that have been documented and discussed for many years (Huey, 1908; Smith, 1967). The experience-based chart stories described by Lillian Lamoreaux and Doris Lee (1943) and Sylvia Ashton-Warner’s (1963) work with Maori children in New Zealand are examples of how LEA helped students learn to read. Teacher education textbooks have recommended its use and variations have been explored and described by many (Nessel & Jones, 1981; Tompkins, 2003; Vacca, Vacca, Gove, Burkey, Lenhart, & McKeon, 2002). Educators have also advocated the value of LEA for English language learners (ELL), including elementary, secondary, and adult ELLs (Dixon & Nessel, 1983; Dorr, 2006; Nelson & Linek, 1999; Wurr, 2002). In all forms of LEA, the central principle is to use the student’s own vocabulary, language patterns, and background of experiences to create reading texts, making reading an especially meaningful and enjoyable process. Traditionally, LEA techniques involve these steps (Nessel & Jones, 1981; Stauffer, 1980): Step 1: The teacher and the students discuss an experience in which all have recently participated, such as a school field trip or the examina- tion of an unusual object. As the teacher and the students discuss their observations and reactions, the students’ understanding of the experi- ence is deepened while oral vocabulary and language skills are devel- oped and reinforced. Step 2: As students formulate and express their ideas, the teacher guides them in creating a dictated account. Students offer statements that they 1
  • 14. Ind-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 12:31 PM Page 2 2 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners want included in the account, or the teacher selects statements from the ongoing conversation and suggests that these be used. The teacher records the students’ statements on chart paper, constructing the text while the students watch. Seeing their words written down, students connect what they just said to what appears on the paper. Step 3: The teacher reads the account to the students, modeling the sound of fluent, expressive reading. Students then read it several times, with teacher help as needed, until they become familiar with it. Step 4: With the teacher’s guidance, students learn to recognize specific words from the account and develop the decoding skills of context, phon- ics, and structural analysis, using the account as a resource. Students may also write their own thoughts to supplement and extend the dictation. Students create and work with a new dictated account each week while continuing to work with past dictated accounts to strengthen their reading and writing skills and to build confidence. As students become comfortable with composing (oral and written) and reading, they begin reading other-author texts. Eventually, the use of dictated accounts is reduced and eliminated as students use other-author texts to refine and extend their reading skills and increase their expressive skills with more complex and challenging writing and speaking activities. An important advantage to this approach is that, from the start, students learn to recognize words in print that are orally very familiar to them. For many students, learning to read their own words, in the mean- ingful context of their own dictated accounts, is easier than grappling with the unfamiliar language and contexts of a published reading program. Although dictated accounts and the selections in a published reader may be similar in some ways, learners will invariably perceive the dictated accounts to be more relevant, significant, and engaging because they are so closely connected to the learners’ own experiences and because they are created while the students watch. Because students compose the account, comprehension is inherent to their interaction with the text, leading them to expect written language to make sense. As a result, they expect other-author texts to contain meaning- ful ideas and comprehensible language. Dictation also develops and strength- ens students’ skill at composing their thoughts in writing. Reading skills and composing skills develop in tandem in an LEA program. The flexible nature of LEA allows each teacher to tailor instruction to the specific interests and needs of individual students. For example, students’ personal and cultural backgrounds are readily reflected in their dictated accounts and in their writing, especially when they are encour- aged to base their accounts on their experiences outside of school. This individualization occurs within a structure that is the same for everyone: discuss, dictate, read, write, and develop skills. Two students can dictate
  • 15. Ind-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/22/2008 2:44 PM Page 3 Introduction 3 different accounts and yet work together on the same skill-building activities. Also, LEA lends itself to such cooperative learning activities as reading dic- tated accounts to classmates, working collaboratively on word-recognition activities, or responding to peers’ writings. Despite its many advantages, LEA is not currently in widespread use. Most schools use published programs for literacy instruction. With their many useful features, these programs are considered well-organized and well-controlled systems for teaching literacy. They are designed by experts to provide systematic instruction. The teachers’ guides provide detailed plans, and components such as workbooks provide ready-made practice exercises. For many busy teachers, these programs are preferable to an approach such as LEA that involves more planning and decision making. However, theoretical and practical considerations generate perennial interest in LEA. Linguists have argued for meaningful input as a prereq- uisite for language acquisition (Krashen, 1981; Krashen & Terrell, 1983; Lightbown & Spada, 2006). Psycholinguists have focused on the relation- ship between language acquisition, reading, and writing (Goodman & Fleming, 1968; Peregoy & Boyle, 2005; Samway, 2006). Researchers have noted that reading is easier when the text closely matches the learner’s own oral language patterns and is aligned with the learner’s experiences (Tierney, Readence, & Dishner, 1980) and have pointed out that reading, writing, listening, and speaking develop in tandem (D. J. Cooper, 2000). These perspectives provide theoretical justification for choosing LEA as the foundation for literacy instruction for all students and suggest its par- ticular strength for students who do not make good progress when paced through a standard published program. In addition, many teachers are faced with students from other cultures whose languages and experiences have little, if anything, in common with the characters and situations portrayed in American literacy programs. Stories or writing topics about American families, American historical events, and American culture have little relevance for many students from coun- tries in which English is not spoken as the primary language and where knowledge of America is limited. Educators with particular interest in ELLs have specifically recommended some form of LEA for use with these students (Crandall & Peyton, 1993; M. Taylor, 1992; Thomas, 1999; Tompkins, 2003). In addition, LEA has been recognized as a useful approach for ELLs by centers for education research and practice (e.g., Birdas, Boyson, Morrison, Peyton, & Runfola, 2003; J. D. Hill & Flynn, 2004; and Reed & Railsback, 2003). Furthermore, the skills that students learn in an LEA pro- gram are closely aligned with the skills described in the instructional stan- dards for ELLs that have been set by state education authorities. Appendix A provides examples of state standards that can be met within the context of the LEA framework. This text will introduce, or reacquaint, teachers with LEA, a natural way of helping learners of any age acquire language, reading, and writing
  • 16. Ind-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 12:31 PM Page 4 4 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners skills and one that is particularly well suited to the needs of ELLs. Although LEA can be used to teach students to read and write in any lan- guage, we focus here on its value for helping students read and write English. In explaining the most effective strategies, we concentrate first on the creation and use of dictated stories to teach reading, then on instruc- tion in word-recognition strategies, then on engaging students in writing. We address these components separately to achieve greater clarity in pre- senting basic principles, but we also show how they are effectively com- bined in an LEA program and, in the last chapter, we focus on how all of the components work together.
  • 17. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 5 1 The Value of LEA for English Language Learners An Overview W e have long advocated the use of the Language Experience Approach (LEA) with students whose native language is not English. This instructional approach for English language learners (ELLs) makes sense as a method and works in the classroom. It is based on what is known about how oral language is acquired and about how the skills of reading are most easily learned. As a flexible approach, it meets the unique and varied needs of students who are learning English. In this chapter, we present the rationale for LEA and the key elements of the methodology. Succeeding chapters elaborate on and extend this overview. LANGUAGE ACQUISITION AND READING The process of language acquisition cuts across language and cultural bar- riers (D. E. Freeman & Freeman, 2004; Krashen, 2003a; Lightbown & Spada, 2006; Pinker, 2000; Ritchie, 1978). A first language is acquired in informal, 5
  • 18. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 6 6 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners nonacademic settings through nonthreatening daily interactions with family and friends. Early acquisition can be hindered in settings where the language user is frequently corrected or reprimanded for incorrect speech (Gary, 1978); it is enhanced by adults’ eager attention to and acceptance of the child’s language use. Acquisition occurs most effectively when there is a need to know, the chance to try, and the freedom to err without penalty. Several principles are as true for acquiring a second language as they are for acquiring a first language (D. E. Freeman & Freeman, 2004; Krashen, 2003a; Lightbown & Spada, 2006). Initially, second language acquisition takes place most effectively in informal, real-life settings where the learner freely interacts with fluent speakers of the target language. The more meaningful and purposeful the situations are to the learner, the better. For example, conversation about making needed purchases in a store is likely to further acquisition more effectively than a textbook exercise with little relevance to the learner’s life. Beginners need to use the new language in supportive, nonthreatening environments in which mistakes are accepted. For example, the novice benefits by talking with friends who ignore errors, focus on the intent of the communication, and encourage further speech. The novice must also have many opportunities to listen without being forced to respond, a situation that affords the chance to become familiar with the sound of the language; grasp as much as possible; and benefit from seeing gestures, intonation, and facial expressions as well as hearing words. Free to concentrate on listening rather than formulating a response, the language learner has a better chance of comprehending. Those who have learned to read and write in their native language are likely to have an easier time learning to read and write in English because they already understand the purposes of these forms of communication and are adept at using them (Education for All, 2006, p. 203). Those who have not yet learned to read and write their native language have simul- taneous challenges: learning English, understanding the processes of read- ing and writing, and developing skill in these processes. Some have additional challenges because the oral and written forms of their lan- guages serve different purposes: Oral skills are not fully useful for com- prehending written communications and vice versa. Learners who have become literate in such a language need to acquire new skills and per- spectives when gaining literacy in English, a language in which the oral and written forms have similar features and serve similar purposes. If the native language of a learner does not have a written form, the learner has the additional challenge of getting used to the concept of written language while learning to read and write English. In general, the reading process is mastered most easily when beginners read texts that are relevant to their lives, when the words of the texts are in their listening and speaking vocabularies, when the grammatical struc- tures of the texts are similar to those they use orally, when they are learn- ing in a supportive environment, and when they have many opportunities
  • 19. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 7 The Value of LEA for English Language Learners 7 to practice with reading materials of their own choosing. These principles hold true when individuals are learning to read a new language. LANGUAGE LEARNERS’ CHARACTERISTICS AND NEEDS Learners of a new language share some characteristics despite their cultural and linguistic diversity. Their native language is no longer adequate for their daily needs or for the more complex language requirements of school or workplace. They must learn a new system of sounds and symbols that is somewhat, perhaps even radically, different from the system they have pre- viously known. Younger learners, who usually acquire second languages with ease, may adapt readily to the new sound and symbol system (Ritchie, 1978). Older learners, however, may have never heard certain sounds in the new language, may have difficulty discriminating these unfamiliar sounds from other sounds, and may consequently have more difficulty reproduc- ing those sounds. They may also be hesitant to attempt to use the new lan- guage if they feel self-conscious about their efforts. Several English sounds are difficult for certain ELLs. For examples of cross-language comparisons, see Refugee Educators’ Network (1997) and Trager (1982). Aspects of students’ cultures can also influence their progress in learn- ing English. For example, consider two students from the same country who speak the same native language but whose backgrounds differ. Although they share some cultural similarities, one has grown up in an iso- lated rural area where the people have little access to newspapers, books, or broadcast media, and the other has lived in an urban area, surrounded by books, magazines, television, and the Internet. The parents of the first have had little need to read and write and are not comfortable learning English, whereas the parents of the second are highly literate in their native language and are determined to learn English. Both sets of parents want their children to become fluent in English and achieve well in school, but they cannot provide equivalent language-learning support at home. When learners have minimal responsibilities and can concentrate only on learning a new language, as is true for many young children and for older students who do not have family responsibilities, the learning can be enjoy- able and satisfying even when the process is difficult. However, learners’ basic survival may depend on their use of the new language, as is true for many older students who are supporting families or who are the designated members of their families to master the new language. With such added pres- sures, learners’ lives are challenging and may even be frightening. Not only are they faced with mastering another sound and symbol system, but they must also understand new vocabulary and idioms as quickly as possible while adapting to American culture. Even if they have relocated with high hopes for a better life, they will experience at least some difficulties as they
  • 20. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 8 8 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners adjust. The older the student, the more unnerving the situation may be and the more unwilling the student may be to interact with native speakers, the very behavior that will increase the learner’s fluency. On the other hand, older individuals who are learning a new language may have more extensive life experience, greater motivation to learn, and more resourcefulness as learners, all of which can mitigate the challenges they face. In addition, their learning may be easier to the extent that they can make meaningful connec- tions between their native language and the language they are learning. In sum, although learners of a new language may share some charac- teristics, they also vary considerably, depending on their age, their past experiences, their motivations, their current life situation, and key features of their native language. As Crawford (2007) points out, it would be best not to think of ELLs as a subgroup of learners at all, given that they vary on so many dimensions. Figure 1.1 contains a summary of key character- istics of ELLs that are salient in an instructional setting. Figure 1.1 Characteristics of English Language Learners Familiarity with English Motivation to use Functional use of English English Willingness to Opportunities to use English use English Familiarity with the Need to use English processes of reading and writing As indicated by the graphic, each characteristic interacts with all the others. The result is a unique pattern for each individual. To illustrate how different patterns of these characteristics lead to diversity within a popu- lation of ELLs, here are some examples of recently arrived immigrants: An eight-year-old boy is the youngest in a family of six. The parents have conversational fluency in English, having taken classes in the
  • 21. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 9 The Value of LEA for English Language Learners 9 language before they immigrated to the United States. He has learned some English because his family members speak English as much as possible at home. They also socialize with the English- speaking families in the neighborhood, two of whom have eight- year-old sons who are in the boy’s class and who interact with him frequently in school and at home. The boy likes these friends, eagerly converses with them, and must use English when interact- ing with them. An eight-year-old girl is the oldest of three children whose father speaks some English but has two jobs and is away from home much of the time. The girl’s mother speaks no English, is preoccu- pied with caring for the two other children, and relies on the eight- year-old to make telephone calls and handle other necessary communications, including exchanges with an English-speaking doctor who is treating one of the younger children. The eight-year- old girl has few English skills, but she knows her mother counts on her and willingly enters into conversations in English when she is needed. However, because many of the inhabitants of her neigh- borhood speak her native language, she does not have to speak English often. An eight-year-old boy is one of five children whose mother and father speak a little English and who are eager for their children to learn the language and teach it to them. The boy is the most out- going of the children, has made many friends at school, and uses English with them and with his teachers as often as he can. He is learning the language rapidly and prides himself on being able to teach his parents and siblings what he knows. He gives informal English lessons from time to time at home. When parents and sib- lings watch American television, they expect the boy to explain what is being said. A sixteen-year-old girl is an only child. Her parents moved to the United States when the father was invited to be a guest professor at a university. He speaks English fairly well; the mother and girl are learning English with the help of a private tutor. The father’s colleagues invite the family to social events regularly, and through these activities, the girl has made one friend her age whom she sees in school. She is somewhat shy, and although she attempts to respond in English when addressed directly, she does not initiate interac- tions with native English speakers. Outside of school, she hears English primarily during her tutoring sessions. A sixteen-year-old boy is the only child of a family that left their homeland as refugees with only a few possessions. They are being
  • 22. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 10 10 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners helped financially by a local church group, but neither parent has found work and both are having a difficult time adjusting to their new life. The mother and father stay together in their home most of the time and rely on their son to obtain food and other necessities for them. He is having an easier time adjusting to their new life but is often frustrated by not knowing the words he needs when shop- ping. He is an excellent soccer player and is in demand by the boys’ team at his school. Although playing on the team boosts his spirits considerably, the matches afford him few opportunities to hear or practice English. A sixteen-year-old girl is one of three children in a family that has moved from an isolated, rural area in their home country to a densely populated neighborhood in a large U.S. city. The other children, both several years younger, are excited about their new life, but the shy sixteen-year-old avoids interacting with anyone outside the family. She seldom speaks in school and spends most of her leisure time at home, helping her mother with household chores. A young man has just moved with his mother, father, and two younger sisters from a metropolitan area in his home country to a comparable city in the United States. As a high school graduate, he hopes to attend a university in the United States. For now, he works to help support the family. He has also enrolled in English classes at a nearby community college, which he attends two nights a week after work. He studied English for three years in high school and is now eager to refine his oral and written expression in preparation for enrolling in an American university. A young woman has moved with her husband from a small town in her conflict-ridden native country to a small town in the American Midwest. They left behind almost everything and have begun a new life with the help of the members of the church that sponsored their immigration. She and her husband watched American television in their native country and learned some English from those viewing experiences, but neither understands English well and both are hesitant to speak English. They are together attending English classes offered by a local university with which their church has connections. The school may not adequately acknowledge the high degree of diver- sity that exists in the ELL classroom because the primary goal is the same for all: to comprehend and use English fluently as efficiently as possible. The school’s focus is likely to be on teaching rather than on learning—that
  • 23. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 11 The Value of LEA for English Language Learners 11 is, on presenting the established curriculum rather than tailoring instruc- tion to the characteristics and needs of the learners. Instruction can best accommodate to diverse learners when the class- room approximates a natural, real-world setting, filled with language. Such a context will give learners numerous opportunities to interact with fluent English speakers in meaningful situations. This is most easily accomplished when ELLs are given daily opportunities to interact directly with English-speaking classmates in pairs or small groups, both to social- ize and to talk about what they are all learning. If most ELL instruction is provided in special language-learning classrooms, the students will need regular opportunities to talk and engage in academic work with English- speaking peers. A particular value of such interactions is that ELLs will hear words and phrases repeated many times. Such repetition ensures retention, and although it can be approximated with textbook drills or classroom exercises, it is much more meaningful and effective if it occurs in purposeful conversation with classmates. Interaction with small numbers of native speakers of English also gives ELLs the chance to practice English. They will make errors in vocab- ulary and usage, and these can lead to embarrassment or frustration if an individual student is speaking in front of the whole class, but if students interact in pairs or small groups, the feeling of performing is reduced. Classroom practice stations or activity centers, designed for use by an individual or a few students at a time, can serve a similar purpose. Such centers can contain videos, audio tapes, computer programs, and popular songs, as well as books, pictures, and objects to stimulate observ- ing, browsing, listening, talking, reading, and writing. Such centers will be especially effective when ELLs and native speakers work with the materials together. Such interactions are aligned with two key recom- mendations put forth for ELLs by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE, 2006): that teachers recognize English language learning as a gradual process that builds on students’ native-language skills and that students in the classroom use English in realistic situations that are nonthreatening. Besides needing many opportunities to hear and practice English, ELLs also need explicit instruction in reading and writing. Ideally, the instructional approach is an integral part of the natural communication setting that has been established in the classroom and is perceived as highly relevant, meaningful, and purposeful, with real communication as its focus. For example, many students will learn the English words to a favorite popular song much more readily than they will learn words pre- sented in a textbook lesson, and they will more enthusiastically write if they are participating in a chat room or updating the class Web site or a personal blog than they will if they are completing a written exercise in a textbook. See Chapelle (2001) and Warschauer (1995, 1997) for examples of digital communication activities and their value for ELLs.
  • 24. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 12 12 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners These principles are aligned with the following selected recommenda- tions made in NCTE’s (2006) position paper on English language learning: • Introduce reading materials that are culturally relevant. • Connect readings with students’ background knowledge and experiences. • Replace discrete skill exercises and drills with many opportunities to read. • Provide opportunities for silent reading (in students’ first language or English). • Read aloud frequently to students so that they become familiar with the sounds and structures of written language. • Read aloud while students have access to the text to facilitate con- necting oral and written modalities. • Recognize that first and second language growth increases with abundant reading and writing. TEACHING READING AS A COMMUNICATION PROCESS LEA meets the needs of diverse ELLs while meeting the expectations of established literacy curricula. Three important features of LEA are central to its success as an instructional approach. First, students use their strengths as speakers and listeners in learning to read and write. Second, balanced attention is given to comprehension, word recognition, sight vocabulary, and composing so that students develop as well-rounded readers and writers. Third, the specific instructional strategies at the heart of LEA are grounded in established principles of learning. Here is a summary of how these features come into play in the creation and use of a dictated account in English, from the shared experience that is the basis of the account to the post-dictation work with the account as the primary reading material: Before Creating the Account • Speaking. Engaging in an interesting common experience, learners offer observations and thoughts, thereby practicing English in a com- fortable, natural setting. They focus on expressing ideas, not on pro- ducing error-free statements. This reduces anxiety students may feel about using English. At the same time, because their English is incor- porated in the dictated account, their efforts are acknowledged and honored. The process is the same whether the students are in the ele- mentary grades, in secondary schools, or in adult classes. The expe- rience and conversation may vary with the students’ age, as will the teacher’s interactions with the students, but the process of formulat- ing and expressing thoughts about a common experience is the same.
  • 25. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 13 The Value of LEA for English Language Learners 13 • Listening. As students take turns talking about the experience, they listen to one another. Because all have shared the experience, listen- ers have a good chance of comprehending what the speaker is say- ing. Because their comprehension is not tested, they can concentrate on gleaning as much as possible from the speech of others without worrying about understanding everything or having to demonstrate their understanding for the teacher. Creating the Account • Composing (oral). The dictated account comprises the learners’ own statements; what they say is recorded by the teacher and becomes the text that all read. The statements included in the account are not ordinarily the first remarks students make about the experience. Rather, they are composed orally with the support of the teacher and with the full recognition that they will be captured and preserved in print. Thus, the account reflects not statements spoken casually but statements that have been intentionally formulated or composed. As such, the process of dictation develops skills that students can use when they write themselves. The expectation is not for error-free statements, only statements that reflect the students’ best efforts. The content of the statements, as well as the style of expression, will vary according to the students’ age, background, and interests. For example, eight-year-olds and sixteen-year-olds may both respond well to a classroom experience in preparing food and dictate an interesting account, but they are likely to notice different aspects of the experience and dictate different observations and comments. • Listening and reading. As the teacher leads students through the first readings of the account, the learners hear and read their own words several times. The text is highly meaningful, having been created on the spot by the contributors. At this point, students are relying primarily on their auditory memory of what they dictated, coupled with repetition, to say the words correctly. Although listen- ing to an account and then reading it in unison is, for many people, associated with the primary grades, this step is as important for older students as it is for young children and is based on the same principle of learning: Repetitions of highly meaningful statements help students fix the statements in memory, and that is the first step in learning to read the account on their own. After Creating the Account • Reading. On successive days, learners reread the account with the teacher’s help and on their own. Because these readings are sched- uled over the course of several days, the practice is what is known
  • 26. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 14 14 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners as spaced or distributed practice, which has been shown to be supe- rior to practice that is concentrated into one short period of time (Cepda, Pashler, Vul, Wixted, & Rohrer, 2006). Distributed practice with highly meaningful material proceeds with relative ease. Students’ repeated exposure to the words in their account leads them to recognize and retain many of the words. • Developing word-recognition strategies. As students read the account over successive days, they also engage in a variety of account- related activities that help them learn to use context clues, structural analysis, phonetic analysis, and reference materials such as dictio- naries to identify unfamiliar words. Learning these word-recognition strategies is an integral part of an LEA program and helps students make the transition from reading their own dictated accounts to reading a variety of other-author material. Older students who have learned to read in their native languages may have already acquired a good foundation in these strategies and thus are likely to transfer this learning to reading English. • Writing. Learners are encouraged to use the dictated account and related activities as a springboard for their own writing. When writing original compositions, students again have a chance to use English for natural and meaningful communication purposes. The dictated account has immediate relevance as a reading text since it directly reflects the learners’ own experiences, vocabulary, and language patterns. Attention and motivation remain high, and learners’ self-worth is reinforced when they see their own language in print. Students develop an understanding of phonetic analysis and other word-recognition strategies in the context of these highly familiar texts. From the start, LEA provides ELLs with a meaningful, personally rewarding experience in learning to read English and in supporting their efforts to write English. In using LEA, students are not expected to conform to the sequence and content of a predesigned program. Rather, the teacher plans experi- ences and activities to meet the students’ identified needs and interests. The teacher chooses dictation topics that are likely to be meaningful and frequently consults the students for ideas. The teacher may also suggest to students which of their statements to include in the account or may help students shape their contributions so that the account reflects their best efforts with English, thereby giving them opportunities to develop skill and confidence as users of English. At the same time, errors in oral usage or in reading an account are accepted as a natural part of the process. Expectations are determined by what the student can do at each stage, not by external standards of performance. The same is true for the skills and strategies that learners develop in conjunction with their dictations. Each student’s acquisition of a sight vocabulary, word-recognition strategies, and writing skills proceeds at a pace that is suitable for the student.
  • 27. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 15 The Value of LEA for English Language Learners 15 USING THE LEA FRAMEWORK AND LEA STRATEGIES FOR INSTRUCTION It is as much a mistake to give all ELLs the same literacy instruction as it is to give any heterogeneous group of learners exactly the same tasks to do and requirements to meet. ELLs come to school with different degrees of the characteristics, as shown in Figure 1.1, and therefore have different needs. Their pace of learning also varies, as does the extent to which they retain what they learn. In addition, their age, background of experience, and cultural heritage all influence their learning in general and their growth toward English literacy in particular. For these reasons, it is impor- tant to see LEA as comprising both a framework for instruction and a highly flexible set of instructional strategies that can be combined and modified in various ways to suit the needs of the diverse students in any given class from the primary grades through and beyond high school. The LEA framework includes these components: • Shared experiences that afford opportunities for observation and conversation • Accounts about the experiences (dictated by the students to the teacher) that serve as the primary texts for reading instruction • Reading texts (dictated accounts) that reflect the students’ individual and cultural perspectives • Additional texts for reading practice (e.g., books, magazines, and digital texts) • Daily opportunities to practice reading dictated accounts and additional self-selected texts • Regular opportunities to write in English and to build, refine, and extend writing skills • Regular opportunities to build vocabularies for listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English • Instruction in specific word-recognition strategies (phonetic analysis, structural analysis, the use of context clues, and the use of dictionaries) • Instruction that builds students’ skill at comprehending written English, from the comprehension of their original dictated accounts to the comprehension of the additional texts they choose to read and of textbooks and other required readings Specific LEA strategies include: • Planning engaging experiences for students that encourage them to speak English • Facilitating talk among students during and after planned experiences • Taking dictation from students based on a shared experience and reading the account to and with students • Using dictated accounts to build students’ sight vocabulary and reading fluency
  • 28. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 16 16 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners • Using dictated accounts to teach specific reading skills (e.g., the use of context clues and phonetic analysis) • Using the process of oral composing and students’ dictated accounts as the basis for students’ own writing This book provides detailed suggestions for planning and managing LEA instruction for ELLs, with a focus first on developing oral language and creating dictated accounts, then on teaching word-recognition strate- gies and building writing skills. The LEA procedures are suitable for students of any age; it is the specifics that vary depending on students’ ages and interests. A topic that interests a seven-year-old will not neces- sarily engage an adult learner although the students’ skill with English may call for the same instructional procedures. The ways directions are given and students are addressed also vary with students’ ages, as do the types of additional reading materials provided in the classroom. Students’ ages also affect the extent to which they can work independently on vari- ous activities. PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS In advocating an instructional approach that simulates natural language learning and that is tailored to meet student needs, we recognize that our suggestions may not suit the policies and structures of some schools. For example, it is a common practice to form newcomer classes for ELLs taught by specially trained teachers who focus on helping students become fluent with English. Many students in such classes appreciate having a specially trained teacher and classmates who share their excitement, anxiety, hopes, and concerns as new arrivals to the United States. Students in such classes can develop a camaraderie that eases their transition to the new culture and gives them needed encouragement in learning English. At the same time, these classes tend to isolate ELLs from native English speakers, and the greater the isolation, the less chance ELLs have for the natural interac- tions that most effectively and enjoyably increase their comfort and flu- ency with English. Some ELLs keep to themselves even though they would like to socialize with other students because their daily schedule affords them so few opportunities to interact with others. The alternative to having separate newcomer classes is to distribute ELLs across regular classrooms, with the expectation that regular class- room teachers, who may have minimal knowledge and experience with ELL needs, will help them develop fluency with English while attending to the needs of the other students. Such an arrangement may be frustrating to both the students and the teachers. Teachers feel overwhelmed; students withdraw, unable to follow what the teacher and the other students are saying and unable to articulate what they do not understand.
  • 29. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 17 The Value of LEA for English Language Learners 17 Ideally, ELLs of all ages need teachers who can help them develop their language skills, meet the demands of the regular curriculum, and use language naturally through interactions with native speakers. To organize such a program while giving equal attention to the academic needs of native speakers is a significant challenge for a school, and solutions are not obvious. We do not claim to have all the answers but will suggest practical solutions when we describe the kind of ELL instruction we believe is ideal.
  • 30. 01-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:57 PM Page 18
  • 31. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 19 2 Reading From Experience for Beginners W e define a beginner in an LEA program as an individual of any age who cannot yet read or write English and who has few, if any, oral English skills. A beginner can be a five-year-old, an adolescent, or an adult. Typically, beginners are recent immigrants who attended little or no school in their home countries and who have had minimal contact with English speakers. Many beginners are unable to communicate their most basic needs and concerns because no one understands their language and they cannot express themselves in English. Besides facing a language barrier, they are also adjusting to new living arrangements, a new culture, and per- haps the need to obtain employment and support a family. Students whose oral language does not have a written counterpart need to acquire the con- cept of words in print. Although beginners face these challenges, most are enthused and confident about their new lives, and all have strengths they bring to the American classroom. Some beginners have watched American television, listened to American popular music, and had other exposures to English that can help them learn English. Others have ready access to English speakers outside of school, either in the neighborhoods where they live or at places of employment, a situation that gives them opportunities to use English outside the classroom and thus to develop fluency in meaningful 19
  • 32. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 20 20 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners contexts. Others have had experiences with their own written language that can help them learn to read and write English. For example, they may have been read to or may have learned to recognize some signs and labels in their native language. Many have considerable drive and persistence as learners that help them rise to the challenges they face. All these students must learn to master the English language if they are to participate fully in American society. They need the care and concern of understanding and well-prepared teachers, and they need an instructional program that makes use of the strengths they bring to the classroom while helping them develop the English skills they need. In this chapter, we focus first on the critical relationship between oral language and reading and then discuss how LEA can help beginners learn to read English as they develop their overall English fluency. ORAL LANGUAGE AND READING Typical English-speaking kindergartners have had several years of immer- sion in oral English before receiving formal reading instruction. This back- ground helps them recognize in print many of the words they know orally and use what they know about English syntax to predict upcoming words in written texts with considerable accuracy. In contrast, beginning ELL students (whether six-year-olds, teenagers, or adults) have had limited exposure to oral English and know, at best, only a few words and syntacti- cal structures. Placing them too quickly in a typical reading program can result in frustration for both students and the teacher. The issue is not that students cannot learn to speak and read a new language at the same time; most can easily do so. The issue lies in the definition of reading that under- lies their instruction. The typical reading program is based on the assumption that the learn- ers are fluent in English; are familiar with the themes, topics, and vocabu- lary in the books; and can concentrate on learning to decode the written language. This is not a reasonable assumption for beginning ELLs. These students are likely to have a more difficult time learning to read if they are expected to proceed as if they were simply English-speaking nonreaders. For example, students who cannot yet hear some of the sounds of English are not likely to profit initially from extensive instruction in phonetic analysis of English words. Similarly, the words considered most basic in a structured reading program (high-frequency words such as and, the, what), may not be familiar and meaningful to ELLs orally and thus are likely to be difficult to master. Those who have little or no experience with written language will have the additional challenges described previously. LEA is based on the assumption that students can learn to read the English that they can speak. It allows for the kind of flexibility that enables students to develop their oral English skills fully and to learn to read English in tandem with learning to understand and speak the language.
  • 33. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 21 Reading From Experience for Beginners 21 PROCEDURES FOR BEGINNERS Because of the relationship between oral language and reading, LEA for beginners involves an initial emphasis on oral language and introduces reading activities as students gain confidence with oral English. The instruc- tion is tailored to individual needs and interests so that learning is relevant, meaningful, and purposeful. Oral Language Development: Personalized Language Activities The beginner’s program focuses on learning those English words and sentences orally that will be immediately useful for conducting conversa- tions, making requests, responding to directions, asking and answering questions, and for functioning in daily life in other ways. Individual and small group activities introduce vocabulary and common language struc- tures with an emphasis on expressions that are directly related to the people, objects, and events the students encounter in school and at home and that are most interesting and engaging to them. Thus, what can be considered basic vocabulary varies from one beginner to another, depending on the learner’s age, particular surroundings, and unique concerns and interests. The specific words and expressions that are learned are not as important as the conditions associated with the learning. Regardless of the words the students are learning, the emphasis is on rich oral and written English lan- guage experiences and the freedom to make mistakes without penalty. In a regular classroom setting, English-speaking classmates are usually willing to help beginners acquire oral English skills. Fellow students are often the best teachers because of their eagerness to be helpful and make new friends. Classmates also can devote more time than the teacher to conversa- tion with ELLs. Informal chats will often be as helpful to ELLs as teacher- directed activities. If students are assigned to an ELL-only class, it might take some extra planning to arrange activities with English-speaking peers, but the time will be worth taking. ELLs could be scheduled into regular class- rooms for films or other special events, or English-speaking students could be invited regularly to visit the ELL classroom for informal conversations. A Sample Instructional Unit: Naming Objects Orally This sample unit illustrates how a combination of teacher direction and classmate help can be used to teach beginners to name common objects found in the classroom. This plan can serve as a model for instructional units to meet any number of oral language objectives. The instruction also prepares students for more formal reading instruction. Not all beginners necessarily need to start with this activity or need to spend the amount of time on it suggested here. If they are very fluent in their native language and very motivated, a different type of activity or a different pacing may
  • 34. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 22 22 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners be more appropriate. The purpose here is simply to illustrate the place of oral language in reading instruction for beginners in an LEA program. Instructional Unit: Common Classroom Objects Objectives • Students will be able to name and describe at least fifteen objects in the classroom. (This number may be reduced or increased, as seems appropriate for specific students. Since these words have high utility, this number will not be unreasonable for most students.) • Students will see the written names of the objects in association with pictures of those objects. Length of unit One week Target students One student who is willing to try pronouncing English words or a small group of such students. Day 1: Activity 1 Prepare fifteen cards with pictures of objects that are present in the classroom (book, desk, chair, etc.). Involve students in preparing the cards by drawing or cutting pictures out of magazines. Label each card clearly with the most common English word for the object and indicate to students that this is the way the word is written in English. See Figure 2.1 Figure 2.1 Word-and-Picture Card book
  • 35. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 23 Reading From Experience for Beginners 23 for an example. The intent is not to teach recognition of the written words but rather to familiarize students with the look of English. Seeing the labels, students can acquire the concept of a written language in a natural manner, just as native English speakers often acquire the concept of read- ing through noting signs and labels around them. If the cards are used often, some students will also learn to recognize words in other contexts. Show five cards to students, one at a time, saying the name of each object when presenting the card. Show and name each card at least twice. Then invite students to say the names, giving help as needed. Go through the cards several times until students say the names readily. Then introduce this exchange: Teacher: What is this? Student: This is a(n) ___. Show each of the cards again a few times, each time asking the question and having the student give the expected reply. Use natural intonation, stress, and facial expressions to simulate a real conversation. Give what- ever help is needed by saying the object names and/or the full reply with the student. After introducing the first five cards in this manner, go through the next set of five and then the last set. If students seem eager and confident, you may wish to turn the activity into a game. For example, give students 1 point for each word they cor- rectly identify after the initial learning rounds. If working with one student, set a target number of points that will indicate a win (e.g., 5 points or 10 points). If working with a small group, give everyone an equal number of tries at identifying words and award a point for each one correctly iden- tified. The one with the most points at the end of the round wins that round. If students remain confident, you may wish to turn the activity into a visual matching exercise. Write the words on separate cards and present them one at a time, saying the word and inviting students to choose the matching word-and-picture card. Provide help as needed. When they choose the correct card, acknowledge their accuracy and say the word again. Day 1: Activity 2 To reinforce learning of object names and expose students to additional oral English, read or tell an anecdote that includes several of the object names. Use pictures or other visual aids (puppets, models, objects, etc.) to help the student understand. Tell the anecdote two or three times to give students a chance to increase their comprehension with each telling. Here is an example of an account that was used with a group that was learning these words: book, desk, computer, paper, pencil. The teacher used the students’ names and enhanced the anecdote by pointing to a picture or a person when pronouncing the words in italics and by using gestures to illustrate some meanings.
  • 36. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 24 24 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners When class started today, everyone sat down at a desk, and everyone had a book. Sonya brought a lot of paper and gave some of it to Desmond. Desmond gave Sonya a pencil because she had forgotten to bring hers. Ravi wanted to work on the computer, and so did Ignatio. They decided to take turns. First Ravi worked on the computer, and Ignatio read his book, then Ignatio worked on the computer, and Ravi read his book. Day 2: Activity 1 Review learning by presenting the original fifteen cards, one at a time. For each card ask, “What is this?” and have students answer, “This is a(n) ___.” Day 2: Activity 2 Walk around the room with students, asking “What is this?” when coming to each of the objects represented in the pictures on the original cards. Help them answer when necessary. English-speaking classmates can also pair up with beginners for this activity. Day 3: Activity 1 Form a group of several learners, including the beginners. Hand out bingo cards on which have been placed drawings or pictures of the fifteen objects in the original card set, labeled with their English names. Call out the names of the objects and have students place markers on the correct illustrations on their cards. Go slowly enough to allow the beginners to make correct decisions. If needed, review the original card set before playing this game. Day 3: Activity 2 Pair beginners with English-speaking classmates and repeat the walk around the room to name objects (Day 2, Activity 2). The classmates may also introduce the names of a few more objects in this manner if their beginner partners seem ready to learn more object names at this time. Day 4: Activity 1 Using the original picture cards, introduce the words for the color and/or size of each object. For example, hold up a card and say, “This is a book. This is a blue book.” Use other aids as necessary to clarify the mean- ing of these descriptive words. For instance, use gestures to indicate size, or other colored objects to illustrate colors. Have students respond with the expanded statements. Day 4: Activity 2 Read aloud or tell another anecdote that includes several of the object names that have been introduced. Use visual aids to help students
  • 37. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 25 Reading From Experience for Beginners 25 understand. Tell the anecdote two or three times to give students a chance to increase their comprehension with each telling. Day 5: Activity 1 Review the fifteen objects with students. Go through the picture cards one at a time, having students name each object by saying “This is a(n) ___.” Then have students point out and name the real objects in the room the same way. Encourage students to use the elaborated statements learned the day before. (“This is a door. This is a brown door.”) Interaction with another person is the most effective form of this review, so try to pair English-speaking classmates with beginners for this activity. Day 5: Activity 2 Read aloud or tell another anecdote that includes some of the words learned during the week, using visual aids to illustrate. English-speaking classmates may be invited to read aloud or compose an anecdote for this purpose. The advantage of this sequence is that repetition from day to day is accomplished in a meaningful and pleasant context, helping to cement learning of the words and phrases. The anecdotes reinforce the new vocab- ulary while introducing additional words and language structures, thus enabling the beginners to become more accustomed to the sounds and cadence of English. Learning is further reinforced when learners hear and use the same words and patterns in other situations during the day. Other Oral Language Activities The instructional unit above is only one example of how students can begin to acquire an oral English vocabulary while gaining familiarity with English words in print. Other instructional activities can be planned using the same principles of meaningful repetition, real-world content, and com- munications of immediate value. Suggestions are given below. In these activities, as in the object-naming unit, students can simply listen to the models of English without being forced to respond or participate. Communication in Informal Conversations Have English-speaking classmates enact simple conversations for beginners to observe and then join. Use pictures or objects when possible to illustrate concepts. Gestures and facial expressions will also help to convey some meanings. For example, use conversations to introduce the following: • Greetings (Good morning. Hello.) • Common inquiries (How are you? What time is it?)
  • 38. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 26 26 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners • Common topics of conversation (lunch table exchanges about food, comments on the weather, discussions of sporting events) Communication in Common Social Situations Have English-speaking classmates enact social activities for beginners to observe and then join. For example, plan skits that involve the following: • Ordering a meal in a restaurant (How much is this? I would like to have a hamburger, please. This is to go.) • Talking to a bus driver (I want to go to ___. How much is the fare? Please take me to ___.) • Talking to a medical professional (Can you help me? I do not feel well. I feel ___.) • Attending a recreational event (How much is a ticket? Can you help me find my seat?) • Making a purchase in a store (I would like to buy this. How much is this?) Communication in School Have English-speaking classmates enact school communications, using signs and props to convey meanings, for beginners to observe and then join. For example, introduce situations that involve the following: • Requests to teachers (May I get a drink of water? May I go to the bathroom?) • Communication in different school areas (programs in the audito- rium, the lunch line in the cafeteria, announced or posted rules and regulations, rules and customs in the gymnasium and playground) • Requests for help from different school personnel (communication in the nurse’s office, having a conference with a counselor, meeting with an administrator, interacting with the librarian) • Following teacher directions (Sit down. Turn in your paper. Close your books. Come over here.) Communication in the Larger Community Have English-speaking classmates enact situations that involve signs and symbols commonly seen outside school. For example, introduce situ- ations that involve the following: • Walk/don’t walk signals • Stop signs • Warning signs (Danger! Wrong way! Poison!)
  • 39. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 27 Reading From Experience for Beginners 27 • Out of order notices • Fire alarms • Men/women signs • Police station signs • Hospital emergency room signs Besides using specially planned activities, set up centers in the room to allow for independent language practice. Beginners may use these indi- vidually, or they may pair with other ELLs or with English-speaking class- mates. Activity centers may include such resources as the following: • Puppets for extemporaneous puppet shows or to enhance informal conversations with classmates • Prop telephones for practice conversations involving greetings and other common statements • Taped stories with accompanying read-along books • Animations or video clips for viewing on a computer • Collections of objects and pictures for learning and practicing object names As beginners make progress learning English, lessons and activities are extended to increase fluency with oral English. Whenever possible, students should be encouraged to select topics for lessons. A student who is worried about an upcoming trip to the doctor will be interested in learning words such as doctor, nurse, medicine, and shot, whereas one who is helping a family member shop for food on weekends will be interested in learning words for foods on the shopping list (e.g., milk, flour, rice, or chicken). Language Learning With Wordless Picture Books As students’ vocabularies expand, wordless picture books are valuable for extending language learning. These materials have easily recognizable stories or themes that appeal to students of all ages. Students can read and discuss them with the teacher and each other. The following list contains books that were published fairly recently and thus are most likely to be available through a local library. However, many other classic wordless picture books by authors such as Eric Carle, Tana Hoban, and Mercer Mayer are worth obtaining through libraries or the Internet. Books That Tell a Story Aliki. (1995). Tabby. New York: HarperCollins. Anno, Mitumasa. (1997). Anno’s journey. New York: Putnam. Bang, Molly. (1986). Grey lady and the strawberry snatcher. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • 40. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 28 28 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Blake, Quentin. (1996). Clown. New York: Holt. Briggs, Raymond. (2003). The snowman. New York; Random House. Day, Alexandra. (1985). Good dog, Carl. New York: Simon & Schuster. Day, Alexandra. (1995). Carl’s birthday. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Day, Alexandra. (1998). Follow Carl. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Lehman, Barbara. (2004). The red book. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Tafuri, Nancy. (1983). Early morning in the barn. New York: Greenwillow Books. Tafuri, Nancy. (1984). Have you seen my duckling? New York: Greenwillow Books. Tafuri, Nancy. (1987). Do not disturb. New York: Greenwillow Books. Tafuri, Nancy. (1990). Follow me! New York: Greenwillow Books. Wiesner, David. (1988). Free fall. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books. Wiesner, David. (1991). Tuesday. New York: Clarion Books. Wiesner, David. (1999). Sector 7. New York: Clarion Books. Young, Ed. (1991). Up a tree. New York: Harper & Row. Books That Develop a Theme or Event Baker, Jeannie. (2004). Home. New York: Greenwillow Books. Crews, Donald. (1980). Truck. New York: Greenwillow Books. McCully, Emily. (1985). First snow. New York: Harper & Row. Popov, Nikolai. (1996). Why? New York: North-South Books. Sis, Peter. (1990). Beach ball. New York: Greenwillow Books. Sis, Peter. (2000). Dinosaur! New York: Greenwillow Books. Books That Present an Abstract Concept Banyai, Istvan. (1995). Re-zoom. New York: Viking Books. Banyai, Istvan. (1998). Zoom. New York: Puffin Books. Banyai, Istvan. (2005). The other side. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. Hutchins, Pat. (1987). Changes, changes. New York: Alladin Books. Maizlish, Lisa. (1996). The ring. New York: Greenwillow Books. Rohmann, Eric. (1994). Time flies. New York: Crown. Spier, Peter. (1982). Rain. New York: Doubleday Books. All beginners can learn to read English to some extent while they are learning to communicate orally in English. However, the benefit they derive from systematic reading instruction depends on their age, overall language skills, background of experience with written language, and psy- chological readiness. Beginners may take a few weeks, several months, or most of a school year to become comfortable enough with English to ben- efit from formal reading instruction although they may readily learn to recognize some words, learn some decoding skills, and enjoy engaging with books written in English. Others will be eager to acquire reading skills and will profit greatly from instruction when their oral skills are still minimal. The student who seems particularly anxious in school or has had
  • 41. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 29 Reading From Experience for Beginners 29 little experience with written language will probably not be as attentive to learning specific decoding principles or mastering a specific reading vocabulary as the student who appears comfortable in the classroom and is clearly confident about reading in English. Because individual differ- ences among ELLs are considerable, the important consideration in plan- ning reading instruction is what will be most meaningful and helpful to the learner and what will lead to the individual’s greatest comfort and satisfaction in learning to read English. As a rule, beginners are ready for systematic reading instruction when they are clearly attentive to print, for example, when they readily recog- nize the written English words on the word-and-picture cards described previously or when they try to identify words in books or on signs in their environment. At this point, students will usually have already learned sev- eral highly meaningful words, such as their names, the names of favorite foods and beverages, words and phrases from the pop culture of their age group, and high-utility words such as stop, walk, or exit. As they continue to expand their oral skills, they will simultaneously be able to learn more words, process simple texts, and learn basic principles of decoding. If they make progress, specific reading instruction may be continued; if they seem frustrated or overwhelmed, the emphasis can be kept on oral language activities until they are better able to profit from systematic reading instruction. Reading Instruction: The Personalized Vocabulary Beginners benefit from acquiring an initial reading vocabulary that is personally meaningful and immediately useful. Because students vary in their interests, levels of maturity, and backgrounds of experience, their reading vocabularies vary as well, so what is basic for one student is not necessarily basic for another. LEA procedures capitalize on these individ- ual differences, allowing the student to begin to read materials that match their unique, personal interests. The first step is to help the beginner accumulate a personalized vocab- ulary that includes words selected by the student because they are famil- iar, interesting, or useful. The principles of the personalized vocabulary have been enumerated by several early proponents of instruction tailored to students’ individual and cultural differences, notably Ashton-Warner (1963) and Veatch, Sawicki, Elliot, Flake, and Blakey (1979), and have been reiterated by more recent writers (Nelson & Linek, 1999). Ordinarily, students are given free choice in selecting words to learn, but guided choice can be desirable for some beginners. The teacher guides the student to choose words from current oral language activities, so the student learns words that are personally meaningful and that also relate to a classroom activity. When the student has had a voice in selecting the topic for the oral language activity, the words available for choice will be particularly significant.
  • 42. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 30 30 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Here are the steps in the process, given with an individual student in mind. Suggestions for adapting the activity for a small group follow. 1. Conduct an informal conversation with the student on a topic likely to generate interest (e.g., a favorite activity, a recent family pursuit, or a special event in which the student was involved). The point of the conversation is to elicit as many English words as possible. Open-ended questions and comments encourage talk and elabora- tion of comments (What happened next? Tell me more! How did you feel about that?). 2. After conversing for several minutes, tell the student to choose up to five words from the conversation. Explain that they should be words the student wants to learn to read. The student is likely to choose nouns and should be encouraged to do so because they con- vey significant meaning. 3. Prepare a word card for each word. (Either print the word on a 3 × 5 card or prepare a computerized list that can be printed out and cut into cards.) Read the words several times with the student. 4. Have the student copy the words into a personal picture dictionary and illustrate each. Sturdy composition books make effective pic- ture dictionaries. The pages can be lettered in advance (A, B, C, etc.), with several pages set aside for each letter. It is best for each word to be placed consistently on one side of the page and a drawing or cut-out picture in the same position on the other side so that for review, the student can cover the illustrations and read the words without the picture cues. If the student has access to a computer, the picture dictionary pages can be constructed electronically, with clip art for illustrations, or the student can type and print out the words, paste them in a composition book, and illustrate them by hand. When creating a picture dictionary, the student retains the original word cards in a deck. 5. Have the student search for the words in disposable newspapers and magazines, or prepare anecdotes that include the chosen words in meaningful contexts. Have the student underline, circle, or cut out the chosen words from these texts and read them aloud. The student can use cut-out words to begin a word poster and add more words as time goes on. This sequence can also be done with a small group of students. First, have each learner tell the group about a meaningful activity or special event. Use open-ended questions to prompt elaborations, and encourage others in the group to ask questions if they wish. Then have each student select up to five words. Although students may choose some of the same words, each will probably have a different set of words. Prepare word
  • 43. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 31 Reading From Experience for Beginners 31 cards for each student and have them put their words in their picture dictionaries and illustrate them. Then give each student disposable texts and have them search for the words they chose, underline them, or cut them out to make a word poster. Encourage students to share their work. A Sample Instructional Unit: A Personalized Reading Vocabulary This sample instructional unit illustrates how personalized vocabular- ies can be incorporated into a week-long instructional unit. Instructional Unit: A Trip to the Grocery Store Objectives • Students will be able to use orally many words related to the activity. • Students will be able to read up to five self-selected words related to the activity. Length of unit One week Target students One student who is ready to acquire a personalized reading vocabu- lary or a small group of such students Day 1: Activity 1 Discuss the topic with the students, ideally after a trip they have made with you to the grocery store so that they are talking about a memorable common experience. If such a trip is not possible, use magazine illustra- tions, photographs, or video clips during the discussion to provide visual representations. Tell students about typical grocery stores. Invite them to tell about their own experiences shopping and to name things they associ- ate with a grocery store. While facilitating the discussion, list significant words on a large sheet of newsprint or the chalkboard. For example, you might list rice, beans, corn, basket, cash register. Day 1: Activity 2 Have students each select up to five words from the list to learn to read. Make word cards for each of that student’s chosen words and read each card several times with each student. The learners may choose some of the same words, or they may all choose different words. If some students want to choose a word that does not appear on the chart-paper list, add it to the list when preparing a word card for the student.
  • 44. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 32 32 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Day 1: Activity 3 Have students copy each of their words into their picture dictionaries and illustrate them with drawings or cut out illustrations. Encourage students to talk about the words and about grocery stores while they are completing this task. Day 2: Activity 1 Briefly review the previous day’s discussion. Then have students take turns reading aloud their word cards to the group, referring to their pic- ture dictionaries as needed to remember the words. Day 2: Activity 2 Have students enact one or more skits about what might happen at a grocery store. Provide help with words and phrases as needed. If students seem to need extra help, join in the skit as a customer, a clerk, or the store owner. Day 3: Activity 1 Have students review all their word cards by taking turns reading them aloud. Have them discard any words that they do not instantly rec- ognize to ensure that their card deck contains words they have learned and are likely to retain. One or two new words may be put on cards and added to decks if any student wishes, following the procedure used on Day 1. Day 3: Activity 2 Prepare a simple narrative about a grocery store that contains many of the chosen words, using the students’ names and several of the words they have been learning. Below is an example of a teacher-composed account that reflected words students had chosen: potatoes, eggs, cart, clerk, and money. The teacher enhanced the relating of the account by pointing to a relevant picture when pronouncing each of the italicized words and by using gestures to illustrate some meanings. Last Saturday, I went to the grocery store to get some potatoes and eggs. Potatoes were on sale, so I bought two bags of potatoes. Altogether, I bought ten pounds of potatoes! I also bought two dozen eggs. That’s 24 eggs in all. I put the eggs and potatoes in a cart because they were heavy. Then I took the cart to the counter, and the clerk rang up the sale. I gave her some money. She said to me, “You sure have a lot of potatoes and eggs! You must really like them!” “I do,” I said. “I just LOVE potatoes and eggs!”
  • 45. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 33 Reading From Experience for Beginners 33 Day 3: Activity 3 Hand to students their own copies of the narrative and have them underline the target words individually. Then have them take turns point- ing to and reading one word aloud. Day 4: Activity 1 Have students review all their word cards, including any new words added the previous day, by taking turns reading aloud their cards to the rest of the group. Day 4: Activity 2 From a collection of magazine and newspaper pictures, have students select the ones that correctly depict their chosen words and put together any matches. After individuals have made as many matches as they can, have them take turns reading each word to the rest of the group while showing the related picture. Day 5: Activity 1 Have students review all their word cards, including any new words added the third day, by taking turns reading aloud their cards to the rest of the group. They should discard any that are not remembered to ensure that their card deck contains words they have learned well and are likely to retain. Day 5: Activity 2 Lead a discussion of the students’ recent grocery store experiences. Encourage them to compare the grocery stores they know in the United States with the food stores or markets in their home countries. Invite students to share thoughts about how a trip to a grocery store is similar to and different from a trip to a gas station, a clothing store, a park, or other familiar places. Day 5: Activity 3 Have students pair up and use their word cards to play a game of “Concentration.” (To play Concentration, students create a deck from pairs of cards. They take turns turning over two cards at a time. If the cards match, the player must say the word to keep the pair. If they do not match, the player replaces them in their original locations. The one with the most pairs at the end wins.) Make sure there are exactly two word cards for each word in the game. If you wish, add an even number of blank wild cards.
  • 46. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 34 34 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners This five-day sequence should be repeated weekly so that students are regularly learning new words while reviewing previously learned words. Some students will readily learn and retain five words a week and ask for more; others may find five to be too many to master. Then, too, the same student may be able to learn more in one week than in another. For each student, increase or decrease the number of new words as needed to main- tain a balance between ease and challenge. In succeeding weeks, make note of any words students cannot identify immediately. If a student fails to identify a word correctly two days in a row, remove that word from the deck. By culling the deck of forgotten words, you will help the student by focusing on the positive and will help your own monitoring of the student’s progress by maintaining an accurate picture of the student’s learning. Any words that are removed will proba- bly be reused by the students at some later date and can be chosen again for inclusion in the card deck. Meanwhile, the students’ individual picture dictionaries reflect all their chosen words. Each student’s dictionary becomes both a record of learning and a useful aid for later reading activities. Other Personalized Vocabulary Activities As students add more words to their personalized reading vocabular- ies, a greater variety of reinforcement activities is used to insure retention of learning. The picture dictionary and word card deck are used for rein- forcement. Here are some activities for this purpose: Word Card Activities • Two or more students select a category, such as food, colors, or sports, and search their card decks for words that fit the category. After making their selections individually, they compare their choices. • Students take turns selecting a target word from their word card decks. The group then brainstorms words associated with it. For example, if they select hungry, they might think of favorite food items (pizza, salad, ice cream), words relating to different meals (breakfast muffins, lunch sandwiches), or words associated with eat- ing (knife, fork, plate, bowl). • English-speaking students ask the beginners simple questions (Do you have a pet? What is your favorite color?) Beginners take turns selecting an appropriate card from the deck as an answer. • Two students work together, taking turns selecting a word and chal- lenging the other to find a synonym, an antonym, or an associated word. • Students play a version of the card game Old Maid by matching cards with the same first letter.
  • 47. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 35 Reading From Experience for Beginners 35 Picture Dictionary Activities • Students cover up the illustrations in their picture dictionaries and take turns reading the words aloud. Students may earn points for each word read correctly. • Students cover the illustrations in their picture dictionaries, draw or select pictures that match the words, then uncover the illustrations to check their responses. Where pictures differ (e.g., two different breeds to illustrate dog), they discuss the differences. • Students cover the words in their picture dictionaries so that only the pictures are visible, then select cards from their word decks to match the pictures. When they have selected a word card for each picture, they uncover the words to check their work. • Two or more students trade dictionaries and cover the words so that only the illustrations are visible. They then select words from their own word card decks to match the pictures. When the chosen word differs from the dictionary owner’s word, students decide why their choices are or are not appropriate. These nine activities can be used repeatedly from week to week. Other effective practice activities may be adapted from other sources. For addi- tional ideas, see Y. S. Freeman and Freeman (2006), Peregoy and Boyle (2005), Tompkins (2003), and Vacca, Vacca, Gove, Burkey, Lenhart, and McKeon (2002). Extending the Beginner’s Program The activities described in this chapter are the backbone of the begin- ner’s instructional program in reading. They can be used for many weeks to help students learn English words orally and learn to recognize many of the same words in print. Their experiences with composing orally in English will also support their efforts to write English. The suggested instructional units can be used as templates with a variety of topics that align with students’ interests and daily experiences. Below are a few sug- gestions that are suitable for learners of any age and that can be used repeatedly as the basis of discussions and reading activities. Ideally, students will have had first-hand experiences with a topic before dis- cussing it in class and choosing words to learn. Class experiences can also be arranged during school hours. If first-hand experiences are not possible, then class discussions of the topics may be enhanced with pictures, anima- tions, and videos. • In the cafeteria (noon in the school lunchroom) • In the halls (before school, when classes change, after school) • To and from school (what students see and hear when walking or riding the bus)
  • 48. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 36 36 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners • Public transportation (students’ experiences with streetcars, trains, subways, etc.) • Eating out (time spent in local eateries or food stalls at open-air markets) • Attending a sporting event (going to sport contests at school, in the community) • Shopping for ___ (food, clothing, books, toys, gifts, etc.) • At the hospital (a visit to a hospitalized patient or to the emergency room) • At the park (visits to local parks, zoos, monuments, etc.) • At the museum (visits to local museums, historical sites, etc.) In addition, beginners can profit from learning various word- recognition strategies (e.g., phonetic analysis) and from writing their own ideas. These aspects of the program are discussed in Chapters 5 and 6, respectively. TRANSITION TO THE INTERMEDIATE LEVEL: FROM WORDS TO LANGUAGE PATTERNS Once the student has acquired a reading vocabulary of two or three dozen English words, the student is moving toward the intermediate level. Work at this next level involves the reading of student-generated phrases, sen- tences, and paragraphs, as well as student-selected individual words. The transition to connected discourse can be effected with the use of stories and accounts in which specific language structures are repeated throughout. Students first become familiar with the pattern, then use it as a model for their own composing. This form of imitation writing is a well-established composition strategy for native English speakers (Butler, 2002; Hillebrand, 2004) and has been recognized as an appropriate strategy for ELLs as well (Peregoy & Boyle, 2005). This use of pattern stories builds additional aural and oral skills and makes the process of generating English sentences rel- atively easy for the learner. Here are the six steps in the process, given with an individual student in mind. Suggestions for adapting the activity to a small group follow. 1. Read the pattern story to the student several times to develop famil- iarity with the content and the language pattern. Explain any words that are critical to the overall meaning. Encourage the student to say the patterned language with you, and invite response to the story by making comments and asking questions. 2. Have the student dictate several sentences to you, adhering to the introduced pattern. As needed, model with an example or two. Write the students’ sentences down, either printing them clearly on
  • 49. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 37 Reading From Experience for Beginners 37 notebook-sized paper or creating an electronic document that can be printed. You may wish to record each dictated statement on a sepa- rate page so that you can bind the pattern story simply into a small book for later reading, illustrating, and sharing with others. 3. With the student looking at the dictated statements, read each one aloud once or twice, pointing to the words as you read. Invite the student to read along with you several times. Repeated readings at this point help to fix the pattern and the dictated sentences in the student’s mind. 4. Have the student create an illustration to accompany the account as a whole or each statement in the account. This task further rein- forces comprehension of the written statements. 5. Store the completed dictation in a folder or notebook for future rereading. 6. Invite the student to select a few words from the dictated account to add to the current word card deck. When working with a small group of students, read the pattern story to the group several times so that students become familiar with the lan- guage. Invite them to chime in on the patterned language and encourage them to comment on the story. Next, have each student dictate a sentence that follows the pattern. Model as needed. Print each student’s contribu- tion on a separate page. Read each statement to and with the writer while the rest of the group listens. Have students illustrate their statements, and put the pages together to create a group book. You may also want to give each group member a copy of their book. Figure 2.2 illustrates a page of a pattern story composed and dictated by a seven-year-old Laotian girl. The stimulus was When It Rains, It Rains by Bill Martin, Jr. (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1971). After listen- ing to and discussing the story, Kazoua followed the pattern, composing and illustrating her own statements in imitation of the original. Her teacher (Millie Farnum, reading specialist, Ellwood School, Goleta, CA) bound the book so that Kazoua could read it silently to herself and orally to her classmates. Listening to a pattern story and dictating an imitative composition is an effective way of integrating oral language and reading. These activities do not have to be limited to the patterns in published books. Patterned lan- guage texts may be developed easily by having the student imitate any desired sentence form. For example, Dogs like to bark may be used as the basis of a text that includes many variations: Dogs like to bark. Dogs like to play.
  • 50. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 38 38 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 2.2 An Original Story That Follows a Pattern
  • 51. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 39 Reading From Experience for Beginners 39 Dogs like to chew bones. Dogs like to sleep. Dogs like to chase birds. Dogs like to play catch. Dogs like to go for walks. As confidence grows, students may use a series of patterns to produce a longer dictated account. Carline’s story illustrates the result of combin- ing several patterns for dictation. Carline’s familiarity with the patterns enabled her to dictate an account that reflected some of her favorite names, animals, and activities. Carline’s story Once upon a time there was a woman. Her name was Leila. She wanted a little rabbit. When Christmas came, Leila got her rabbit. He was a white rabbit with a bushy tail. She needs food for the rabbit. The rabbit’s name was Bushy Tail. She loved to play with Bushy Tail. One day Bushy Tail had a baby. The baby’s name was Little Bushy Tail. Her mom named her Little Bushy Tail because she looked just like her. A large number of different kinds of pattern books (also called pre- dictable books) are available commercially. Texts especially useful for ELL students include such patterns as sequence, repetition, rhyme, or question and answer. Although these books can be used successfully with a range of ages, some books are more appropriate for younger or older students because of their subject matter. Books that were written specifically for instructional use are the classic Tiger Cub series by Robert and Marlene McCracken and the Instant Readers by Bill Martin. McCracken, Robert A., & McCracken, Marlene J. (1973). Tiger cub readers. San Rafael, CA: Leswing. Selected titles: One Pig, Two Pigs The End . . . The Farmer and the Skunk The Farmer Had a Pig What Can You Do? What Can You Hear?
  • 52. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 40 40 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners What Can You See? What Do You Do? What Is This? Where Do You Live? Martin, Bill, Jr. (1971). Instant readers. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Selected titles: Level I Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? When It Rains, It Rains The Haunted House Silly Goose and the Holidays I Went to the Market The Wizard Monday, Monday, I Like Monday Up and Down the Escalator Level II King of the Mountain The Longest Journey in the World Whistle, Mary, Whistle A Spooky Story City Song Level III My Days Are Made of Butterflies The Turning of the Year I Paint the Joy of a Flower Ten Little Squirrels Besides these long-time favorites, many other pattern books are also available. The following list includes books that were published fairly recently and thus are most likely to be available at a local library. However, many other classic pattern books by authors such as Eric Carle, Tana Hoban,
  • 53. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 41 Reading From Experience for Beginners 41 and Margaret Wise Brown are worth searching for and may be found through the Internet. Aliki. (1989). My five senses. New York: Thomas Crowell. Astley, Judy. (1990). When one cat woke up. New York: Dial. Aylesworth, Jim. (1991). Old black fly. New York: Holt. Baer, Gene. (1989). Thump, thump, rat-a-tat-tat. New York: Harper & Row. Baker, Alan. (1990). Two tiny mice. New York: Dial. Baker, Keith. (1990). Who is the beast? Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Barton, Byron. (1987). Machines at work. New York: HarperCollins. Brandenberg, Franz. (1989). Aunt Nina, good night. New York: Greenwillow Books. Christelow, Eileen. (1989). Five little monkeys jumping on the bed. New York: Clarion. Christelow, Eileen. (1991). Five little monkeys sitting in a tree. New York: Clarion. Florian, Douglas. (1989). Nature walk. New York: Greenwillow Books. Florian, Douglas. (1992). At the zoo. New York: Greenwillow Books. Hayes, Sarah. (1988). This is the bear and the picnic lunch. Boston: Little, Brown. Hayes, Sarah. (1990). Nine ducks nine. New York: Lothrop Lee & Shepard Books. Jonas, Ann. (1989). Color dance. New York: Greenwillow Books. Numeroff, Laura. (1985). If you give a mouse a cookie. New York: Harper & Row. Peek, Merle. (1985). Mary wore her red dress. New York: Clarion. Pomerantz, Charlotte. (1989). Flap your wings and try. New York: Greenwillow Books. Roffey, Maureen. (1988). I spy at the zoo. New York: MacMillan. Ross, Tony. (1988). Super doper Jezebel. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Sanfield, Steve. (1995). Bit by bit. New York: Philomel. Tabeck, Simms. (1997). There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. New York: Viking. Thornhill, Jan. (1989). The wildlife 123. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers. Thornhill, Jan. (1990). The wildlife A-B-C. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers. Williams, Linda. (1986). The little old lady who was not afraid of anything. New York: Thomas Crowell. Williams, Sue. (1992). I went walking. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Young, Ed. (1992). Seven blind mice. New York: Philomel. Zieffert, Harriet. (1999). First night. New York: GP Putnam’s Sons. Pattern stories are much like a beginning swimmer’s water wings. They are useful for moving learning forward but are not an end in themselves,
  • 54. 02-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 42 42 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners just as staying afloat with water wings is not equivalent to swimming across the pool unaided. As soon as students are able to dictate sentences in English without imitating specific language patterns, procedures appro- priate for intermediate learners can be used. SUMMARY Beginners’ oral language skills are developed through meaningful activi- ties related to the student’s daily life. As the student is ready, reading instruction begins with the development of a personalized reading vocab- ulary that includes self-selected words. Soon, the student begins dictating statements, using language patterns as models. Reinforcement activities strengthen students’ oral expression, help them comprehend written English, and prepare them for more challenging activities at the interme- diate level. The transition to the intermediate level is effected by the use of texts with patterned language that are used as models for students’ own dictations. Lessons in word recognition and writing are also part of begin- ning students’ programs. These aspects of instruction are addressed in Chapters 5 and 6.
  • 55. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 43 3 Reading From Experience for Intermediate Students I n an LEA context, ELLs are considered intermediate students when they are making good progress toward understanding spoken English, are able to conduct simple conversations in English, and have had some exposure to reading instruction in English, perhaps as beginners with the reading activities described in the previous chapter. Intermediate students still need considerable practice with English as an oral language, but they already understand that written words are a code for language used orally. They are ready for more advanced reading instruction in English and will be maximally successful when their lessons are meaningful to them per- sonally and are conducted in a nonthreatening environment. As is true for beginners, intermediate students may be of any age. PROCEDURES FOR INTERMEDIATE STUDENTS Intermediate students benefit from a step-by-step plan for developing reading skills that is an extension of the beginning-level LEA activities described in the previous chapter. Students formulate statements that the teacher writes down so that the teacher and students together construct the basic reading material. Comprehension of written English is accomplished 43
  • 56. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 44 44 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners with ease since students read language that is highly meaningful and rel- evant to their personal lives. They develop their reading vocabularies through many contacts with the familiar words of their dictated accounts. The reading activities are made gradually more challenging as the lessons proceed, but the pace of learning is determined by what each student is able to handle comfortably. The teacher is consistently supportive, accept- ing the students’ oral English and adjusting reading activities and pacing to promote success. Learners are given increasing opportunities to read materials other than their dictated accounts to widen their reading hori- zons while building their basic reading skills, and they also engage in writ- ing concurrently with their reading activities. While focusing on students’ literacy skills, the teacher also helps them gain a greater command of English orally. In addition, the instruction includes attention to word- recognition strategies (e.g., phonetic analysis) and writing. These elements are discussed in Chapters 5 and 6, respectively. Basic Instructional Plan This plan is organized into daily instructional units for a small group of students or for an individual student. It can be adapted for use in a regular classroom, a special ELL classroom, or a tutorial setting. We have designed the lessons to be completed in five days. Some learners may need more time; others less. On some days, only these recommended tasks can be completed; on other days, other activities can be added, such as reading to students, talking with them, having them play language games to increase their fluency with English, or having them read other-author materials that contain many of the words that appear in their dictated accounts. We focus in this section only on the creation and use of dictated accounts to make clear the sequence that results in effective learning. After the discussion of dictated accounts, we suggest a variety of other activities that are useful additions to the intermediate student’s instructional program. Day 1: Building a Context and Creating the Dictated Account The first day involves two instructional purposes: building a context for reading that stimulates students’ use of oral English and creating a dic- tated account that reflects students’ English usage. Both purposes are accomplished in a supportive context that builds students’ confidence as learners. Building a Context for Reading. To develop a meaningful context for dic- tating and reading, students first talk in English about an experience of sig- nificant, personal interest. The more immediate and personally relevant the topic, the more readily students share their thoughts in English. Here are
  • 57. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 45 Reading From Experience for Intermediate Students 45 some ideas for experiences that usually stimulate good discussion. These can be modified to suit the ages and interests of particular students. • Take students on a walk around the school or neighborhood. Have them observe and talk about the people, animals, plants, buildings, cars, weather conditions, and other notable aspects of the place. • Engage students in preparing a simple dish. Invite them to note and talk about the ingredients, utensils, processes, and enjoyment of eat- ing the finished product. • Create a classroom herb or flower garden. Give each student a pot to tend, or have the group work together on one large planter. Encourage students to talk about the steps in the process and how to care for the plants. • Have students bring in photographs of family, friends, or places, focusing either on their current home or on their homeland. Have the group discuss the pictures, comparing and contrasting what they see. • Engage students in a craft such as weaving, origami, or puppet mak- ing, noting and discussing the materials and processes they use and each other’s completed items. • Put a mystery object in a paper bag. Have students guess what the object is by feeling it and asking questions. Encourage them to specu- late about all the things that could be in the bag, given what they feel. • Engage students in a discussion of a topic they have been learning in another subject area. A concept from science, a historical event, the rules of a sport, or the creation of an art project can provoke lively discussion as well as reinforce content area learning. • As holidays and other significant events occur, engage students in activities and conversations about these. You may wish to focus on American holidays and customs, typical seasonal activities in the local area, or anniversaries of important historical or legislative events. • Engage students in experiences with significant flora and fauna of the area. Trips to a local zoo, bird-watching near the school, or obser- vations of noteworthy local geographical features can all stimulate good discussion. The key to choosing an effective experience is to understand and make use of the learners’ particular tastes and interests. As students become familiar with the LEA process, they usually begin suggesting topics and experiences. With any topic, the goal is to give students opportunities to hear and use English in natural settings. A variety of topics encourages students to hear and use many new words, phrases, and idioms. The purposes of the discussion are to draw out the students’ ideas, build their speaking vocabularies, and bolster their confidence. Use open- ended questions to encourage them to describe, explain, or react to the
  • 58. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 46 46 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners experience. Accept their statements without correcting their usage and supply words as needed. Students’ practice with oral English is valuable in its own right at this point. The conversation also encourages them to for- mulate thoughts in English that they can articulate when it is time to craft the dictated account. When they are working in a small group, the discus- sion also helps to build camaraderie. The collaborative effort helps reduce students’ anxieties and increases their enjoyment for learning. The length of the discussions depends on the age, attention, and willing- ness of the learners to talk. Five or six minutes may be plenty of time on some occasions. At other times, students will sustain the conversation for much longer. The length of the discussion is not as important as the chance for everyone to have a say about the experience and to enjoy the conversation. Creating the Dictated Account. Have a large piece of lined chart paper and a marker for recording the students’ statements. It is best to have students clustered in a group around the chart so that they can easily watch as their words are written down. Alternatively, use a computer con- nected to a projector. The first few times students create a dictated account with you, briefly explain the procedure by saying something like this: We have had an interesting discussion about ____. Now it’s time to write down some of your ideas on this chart so that we can read them. How shall we begin? If students are uncertain, provide a model statement as a starter, as this teacher did with a group of four students in a fifth-grade class. The group had gone outside the building with the teacher for a brief walk to observe what was going on in the neighborhood. This was their first experience with creating a dictated account, and they did not know how to start: Teacher: When we went outside just now, Hung saw a fire engine in the street. I’ll write that down as our first sentence: Hung saw a fire engine in the street. What else do you have to say? Student A: Fire engine made a loud noise! Teacher: Yes, it did! We’ll put that down next. What else did we see outside? Student B: A police car was after the fire engine. Teacher: Yes, a police car was right behind the fire engine, wasn’t it? That’s a good idea to include. We’ll write that next. At this point, the dictated account looked like this: Hung saw a fire engine in the street. Fire engine made a loud noise. A police car was after the fire engine.
  • 59. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 47 Reading From Experience for Intermediate Students 47 Exact Language or Not? An issue when taking dictation is whether to record statements exactly as the students give them without making cor- rections in English usage or to make corrections so that the account reflects error-free English usage. In considering this issue, it is important to reflect on the purpose of the activity and the intended outcomes. The goal in cre- ating a dictated account is to construct a text that reflects the students’ experience and language so that when the students read it, their memory of what they did and said matches what is on the page they are reading. This situation enables students to proceed from a position of strength because the content and language patterns of the text are highly meaning- ful and familiar. To elaborate, here is an example of what can go awry. Student B, con- tributing to “Our Walk” earlier, said, “A police car was after the fire engine.” A teacher might be tempted to rephrase the statement to conform to more common English usage, suggesting either “A police car followed the fire engine.” or “A police car came after the fire engine.” However, Student B will almost certainly remember the original statement and thus can become confused when reading the account. Text: A police car followed the fire engine. Student: A police car was after the fire engine. That is, when looking at the word “followed” in the text, the student will say “was,” and when looking at the word “the,” the student will say “after.” Making changes in the students’ language when taking dictation is best avoided because changes are likely to confuse the students when they read the account, and their confusion is likely to interfere with their lan- guage learning. That is, instead of focusing on learning to read the words in the account, they will shift their focus to speaking accurately. For these reasons, it is best to accept and record the students’ language, including errors and awkward elements. Accepting their statements will enable them to read those statements accurately. Also, because their language has been accepted, they will be encouraged to continue contributing to dic- tated accounts. Because their dictations will always reflect their oral English usage, they will use fewer awkward and incorrect statements in their dictations as their oral English improves. To explore this issue further, let’s look at another way the exchange described earlier might have gone: Teacher: What else did we see outside? Student B: A police car was after the fire engine. Teacher: Yes, a police car was right behind the fire engine, wasn’t it? Say your idea again. Student B: A police car was right behind the fire engine.
  • 60. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 48 48 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Teacher: How shall I write your idea? Student B: A police car was right behind the fire engine. Teacher: OK. I’ll write that next. In this instance, the student spontaneously repeated the teacher’s statement, hearing the difference and readily adopting the new usage. The teacher acknowledged the oral revision, gave the student another chance to state the idea, and accepted the student’s decision to revise. If the student had not noticed and adopted the teacher’s revised phrasing, the teacher would have used the student’s original statement. Although the primary purpose of the pre-dictation discussion is not to improve students’ oral skills, the teacher can provide modeling, encour- agement, and informal reminders that can have an impact on students’ usage. Some students may rephrase ideas on their own to reflect a teacher’s reply, as described above, or may revise because of what another student says. Others may be particularly concerned about accuracy and will ask for correction even if the teacher has encouraged them not to worry about their usage. If the revision is clearly the students’ own, then it can be retained in the dictated account because the student is likely to remember the revision. Engaging students in plenty of pre-dictation talk helps to ensure that students’ dictated statements reflect their best current efforts with English. As students share ideas, they have a chance to use English in a comfortable context, and with encouragement will try out different ways of stating their ideas. Another way to proceed in crafting a dictated account is to lis- ten to their conversation and select statements to add to the account, including some, but not all, of the statements students make. If students use only a few words over and over in their dictations, introduce new top- ics and spend more time in discussion before the dictation to broaden their vocabularies. Length, Title, and First Readings. A dictated account should contain enough statements to provide a variety of words and sentences but not so many as to overwhelm the readers. Generally, three or four statements will be enough, but as many as six or seven can be used with some groups. When working with a small group, a good rule of thumb is to have each student contribute at least one statement. If some are not willing to con- tribute, however, the account will still be meaningful to them because they have been present at its creation. If students have more ideas, just say that the account has enough for now but that they can write their own exten- sions later. After ending the dictation, encourage students to think of a title. A title is not strictly necessary, but asking for one gives students a chance to generalize from the details they included to a topic or main idea. If students cannot think of a title, you may wish to supply one to help them understand what a title is.
  • 61. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 49 Reading From Experience for Intermediate Students 49 Immediately after completing the account, read it aloud to the students while they watch. Read with natural intonation and pacing. Run your hand or a pointer smoothly under the words as you read, making sure students are looking at the words. Then have students read along in uni- son with you several times, using a pointer to pace them. Finally, invite one or two volunteers to read along with you. These repeated readings serve several purposes. First, students hear the account as a whole and can savor it as a reflection of their experience and a representation of their lan- guage. Also, by hearing the account several times and reading it chorally, they begin to learn it by heart. Their memory of the account becomes a strength on which they can rely as they work with it over the next few days. Finally, they begin to associate the words they hear with their writ- ten counterparts. Some students will learn and retain a few words although the intent of these first readings is not mastery of words. To summarize, here are the steps in the process of creating a dictated account: 1. Involve students in a discussion, encouraging everyone’s participa- tion, to develop students’ fluency with English, build their speaking vocabularies, allow them time to formulate their thoughts for dicta- tion, and (if students are working as a group) involve them in a col- laborative effort. 2. Invite students to offer statements for inclusion in the dictated account, aiming to get a contribution from everyone if students are working in a group. Record the statements on chart paper, writing each student’s exact words. 3. Read the account to the group (or individual) once or twice while students watch and listen. 4. Read the account with the group (or individual) two or three times. Day 2: Rereading the Dictated Account and Learning Words The second day of instruction involves three purposes related to the dictated account: rereading the account silently, rereading it orally, and tak- ing the first steps to mastering the words in the account. To prepare, have the original chart and a copy of the account on 8.5 × 11 paper. The copy should have the learners’ statements exactly as they appear on the chart and should use double or triple spacing for visual ease. See Figure 3.1 for an example of a prepared copy of “Our Walk.” Also, prepare a Sequential List of the words in the account. This is a display in columns of all the words from the account in the same order in which they appeared in the account. See Figure 3.2 for the Sequential List of the words in “Our Walk.” Make a copy of the account and of the Sequential List for each student. Using the prepared materials, students begin learning words through a sequence of activities that involves meaningful repetition to ensure
  • 62. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 50 50 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 3.1 A Dictated Account Our Walk Hung saw a fire engine in the street. Engine made a loud noise. A police car was after the fire engine. We see birds and squirrel. Figure 3.2 A Sequential List our in noise fire walk the a engine Hung street police we saw engine car see a made was birds fire a after and engine loud the squirrel retention (Nessel & Jones, 1981; Stauffer, 1980). Mastery of all the words is not the goal. In fact, students in the same group, working with the same account, will almost certainly learn different numbers of words, and few will learn them all right away. The three-step sequence is designed to accommodate to different rates and extents of learning. In preparing, you may wish to make note of any vocabulary or lan- guage usage issues in the dictated account that need instructional atten- tion when language usage is the focus. For example, “Our Walk” shows difficulties in the use of articles before nouns (the, a, an) and the need for a better way to express the words “was after.” Reading the Account Silently. Gather the group around the chart and read the account aloud to and with them to refresh their memories. Give each student a copy. Have them read it silently once or twice and under- line any words they are sure they know. The underlining focuses students on individual words within the context of the complete account and builds their confidence by making them aware of what they know. However, accurate self-assessment can be a challenge. Some students, exercising caution, will underline few words. Others, overcon- fident, will underline almost every word. Still others may not quite
  • 63. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 51 Reading From Experience for Intermediate Students 51 understand what to do, so their underlining will not reflect what they know. After doing this in several accounts, most students will become increasingly accurate in their self-appraisals, and this leads to pride in seeing real growth over time. Reading the Account Orally. Have several students take turns reading the account aloud. If a student hesitates on a word, supply it to maintain the flow of the reading. You may wish to use a fresh copy for each student to keep a record of that student’s oral reading by marking unknown words, noting pronunciation problems, and indicating additions or omis- sions. Do this recording openly if you choose to do it. If students ask about it, matter-of-factly say you are making notes so as to know how best to help them learn. Later, compare your record with the student’s underlin- ing to compare the student’s self-knowledge and confidence with your own assessment. Reading the Sequential List. Invite students to take turns reading the Sequential List aloud. Keep a record of each student’s word identifica- tion on your own copy by placing a check mark next to each word the student identifies without hesitation. The altered visual arrangement makes the task of identifying words more challenging and helps students learn to recognize words outside the context of the original account. Figure 3.3 illustrates the tracking of Hung’s reading of the Sequential List from “Our Walk.” Checks indicate words Hung recog- nized immediately when reading the list. Unchecked words were not identified. You may wish to record all the students’ responses on one copy of the list, using a check-mark column for each student, or you may prefer to use a copy of the Sequential List for each student. The record you keep of the Figure 3.3 Sequential List: Hung’s Responses our √ in √ noise √ fire √ walk √ the √ a engine √ Hung √ street √ police √ we √ saw √ engine √ car √ see √ a √ made was birds √ fire √ a after and engine √ loud the squirrel √
  • 64. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 52 52 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners words each student identifies will help in monitoring students’ word learning over time and in planning later instruction. Also, you will use this information in planning for the next day’s activities. This activity is the last for this second day. If students have difficulty with the Sequential List, the steps may be repeated the following day before beginning the next round of activities. Day 3: Reinforcing Word Learning The third day of instruction involves three purposes related to the dic- tated account: rereading the account silently, rereading it orally, and seeing known words from the account in a new context. To prepare, have avail- able the original chart and students’ copies of the dictated account. Also, for each student, prepare a Scrambled List I of the words in the account, using the student’s Sequential List as a base. Scrambled List I is a display in mixed-up order of only the words identified the previous day from the Sequential List. Begin and end the list with words that will probably be easy for the student to recognize. Spread the more difficult words as evenly as possible throughout the rest of the list. It is usually not necessary to include duplicate words (words from the Sequential List that appear more than once), but including such duplicates for some students can increase the chance for success when they read Scrambled List I. See Figure 3.4 for Hung’s Scrambled List I. Figure 3.4 Hung’s Scrambled List I fire the birds police our car Hung saw engine street in a noise squirrel we see walk Reading the Account Silently. Return the students’ underlined copies to them and have them read it silently once or twice. Then ask them to underline all the words they know, putting a second line underneath any word they marked the day before and believe they still know at this point. Some students may also recognize a few words this time that they
  • 65. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 53 Reading From Experience for Intermediate Students 53 did not recognize the day before. This task reinforces previous learning and gives students a chance to demonstrate any new learning. Reading the Account Orally. Have students take turns reading the account aloud. Add to the record you kept yesterday of each student’s reading, again noting any difficulties students have recognizing or pronouncing words. This second record of oral reading provides more information about learning and again suggests where further instruction is needed. Reading Scrambled List I. Distribute to each student the Scrambled List I that you prepared for that student. Have students read their lists silently and then take turns reading them aloud. Focusing on the subset of known words at this point reinforces each student’s previous learning and bol- sters confidence. Because the words are not in the same order in which they appeared previously, reading Scrambled List I is a more challenging task than reading the Sequential List. However, because each list contains only words that the student has recognized before, the chances of success in identifying these words are high. Again, keep a record of each student’s performance on your own copy of the list. Day 4: Reinforcing Word Learning The fourth day of instruction involves one purpose related to the dic- tated account: having students see known words in a new context. To pre- pare, create for each student a Scrambled List II that includes, in a mixed-up order, only the words the student identified on Scrambled List I. See Figure 3.5 for Hung’s Scrambled List II. This day’s only activity related to this dictated account is to have students read their Scrambled List II silently, then aloud. Keep a record of each student’s performance. Because so much of the original context has now been removed, this task is ordinarily the most challenging. Some Figure 3.5 Hung’s Scrambled List II police the Hung fire engine in a we noise walk street birds see car
  • 66. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 54 54 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners students may not recognize some words at this point that they recognized earlier. To keep the emphasis on success, you may want to have the student find any unidentified words in the original account, read the sen- tences in which they appear, and try to identify them by using the sentence context. The sentence context will usually prompt the student to recognize any forgotten words. Some teachers may be concerned about including on the scrambled lists only words that were unhesitatingly identified by the student in an earlier, easier task. This practice keeps the focus on success and accommo- dates to each student’s pace of learning. Any words that were not identi- fied in an easier context will almost certainly not be recognized in a more challenging one. Any words not included on scrambled lists are bound to appear in future dictation once they are well established in the students’ speaking vocabularies, and they can be learned then. Day 5: Reinforcing and Extending Word Learning The fifth day of instruction involves one purpose related to the dictated account: supplying students with permanent representations of known words. To prepare, print the known words from Scrambled List II on word cards. Use small, word-sized cards for the Word Bank (see Figure 3.6) so that the student can easily move them around on a desk top and store them. A 3 × 5 index card can be divided into four or six smaller word cards. Figure 3.6 Hung’s Word Bank Cards a car engine Hung birds police fire see street the we Ask the students to read the cards in their card sets. Each word that is identified immediately goes into the student’s Word Bank. This can be a small container (e.g., a margarine tub) or a large envelope sturdy enough to withstand much use. Any words that are not identified immediately are put aside. Explain to students that their Word Banks are for collecting all the words they know well and will use regularly in class. Assure them that they will learn many more words as time goes on.
  • 67. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 55 Reading From Experience for Intermediate Students 55 To summarize, the work with dictated accounts includes these student activities: Day 1: Discuss topic and dictate account Day 2: Read account silently Read account orally Read Sequential List Day 3: Read account silently Read account orally Read Scrambled List I Day 4: Read Scrambled List II Day 5: Obtain and read Word Bank cards Put cards in Word Bank Creating dictated accounts, reading the accounts, and learning to rec- ognize words from the accounts are activities that involve students in reading as quickly and easily as possible. These activities give students regular practice with reading highly familiar texts. As they gain confi- dence, they also need to apply their growing skills to a variety of other reading activities, including the reading of other-author materials. The next section explores how to reinforce and extend the learning students begin with their dictated accounts. Reinforcement and Extension Activities Practice with previously dictated accounts, Word Bank activities, and experience with a variety of other-author materials round out an LEA pro- gram for intermediate students. Effective use each day of these additional activities helps the student build confidence as a reader, acquire a solid reading vocabulary, focus on reading as a meaning-making process, and transfer newly learned skills to a variety of texts. Some computer-based language-learning activities may be a useful addition to intermediate students’ instructional programs. Activities With Dictated Accounts Regular reinforcement and extension work with dictated accounts puts the focus on reading as meaning-making. Simply reading a dictated account during the five-day instructional cycle does not prepare intermediate students adequately for reading other-author materials. Students also need to read their accounts as they will later read other materials. Daily experience with one or more of the following activities will keep the focus on reading for meaning and enjoyment. Some of these activities also
  • 68. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 56 56 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners encourage oral exchanges between students, providing additional oppor- tunities to communicate in English. 1. Two or more students select an account and act it out for the class. To perform well, they must discuss the events and decide how best to portray them. 2. Students select several related accounts and reproduce them in the format of a newspaper. Reading through all of their accounts and deciding which ones are related thematically encourages students to focus on the texts in new ways. 3. Copies of some dictated accounts are put on index cards or half sheets of paper; the titles are placed on other cards or slips of paper. Students shuffle each deck and match the titles with the accounts, discussing their reasons. If students have dictated different accounts, they can trade and match one another’s accounts and titles. 4. Students read their accounts into a tape recorder or computer so that the account and the recording can be used as a read-along activity by other students. 5. After students have dictated accounts about different topics, they organize them into chapters of a book for binding and adding to the classroom library. Individuals may also create their own collections of dictated accounts on topics such as “My Family” or “My Favorite Activities.” Accounts related to content-area studies can be collected and placed in a booklet to accompany work in that class. Accounts about American holidays and customs, local seasonal activities, ani- mals or plants, anniversaries of important historical events, and geo- graphical features can be published as books for the classroom library. 6. An account is copied onto sentence strips, and the strips are mixed up. Students organize the strips in a logical order and then com- pare this sequence with the original account. This activity is espe- cially effective when students are reordering sentences from one another’s accounts. 7. Two or more students read and compare their accounts on the same topic. They can discuss the similarities and differences or can represent the comparisons and contrasts in a graphic such as a Venn diagram. Word Bank Activities Word Bank activities give intermediate students repeated contact with words from their accounts, and this repetition aids retention as students build their reading vocabularies. Word Bank words are further removed from the context of the account than the structured lists and so are espe- cially useful in developing immediate recognition of words independent
  • 69. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 57 Reading From Experience for Intermediate Students 57 of familiar associations. Daily experience with the activities as shown below provides effective reinforcement. Some of these activities also encourage oral exchanges between students, providing additional oppor- tunities to communicate in English. 1. Students work in pairs to read aloud their word cards to each other. 2. Students sort their word cards into categories (e.g., things to eat or things that are not eaten, things that are alive or not alive, things that are larger or smaller than a book). 3. Students pair up. Each chooses several word cards to share with the partner. They talk about the meanings of the words and the per- sonal associations they have with them. 4. At the end of the dictation cycle, students work in small groups to show one another their new words and explain their meanings. 5. Students connect words in their Word Banks with illustrations from magazines. For example, if the illustration is of a red boat near a riverbank, a student might select such words as red, water, tree, or fun to go with the picture. After students have found some words, they take turns showing their pictures and words to each other. Activities With Other-Author Materials After the first week of instruction, students benefit from daily brows- ing through other-author materials. Books, magazines, and newspapers that match student interests allow for a choice of reading materials in the classroom. Some students will find known words in these materials; others may only enjoy the illustrations at first. As they gain experience with these less familiar texts, they will recognize more and more words and will begin reading sentences and paragraphs. Talking about what they are learning from these materials, they continue developing their speaking vocabularies and oral fluency. Here are some suggested activities: 1. Students browse through the classroom library, find known words in the materials, enjoy the illustrations, and talk to each other about the books. 2. Students individually read or browse through other-author texts and discuss what they learned with a partner or small group. 3. Using old newspapers and magazines, students cut out known words and arrange them attractively on a large piece of colorful paper or on a notebook page to create a word poster. They can show their posters to others, reading the words they have included. Some students may wish to create single-topic word posters with a focus on sports, pets, or some other interest.
  • 70. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 58 58 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners 4. Students listen to and read along with audio books. English-speaking classmates or other native speakers may be willing to create the taped material if published audio books are not available. 5. Students view and discuss short videos or animations. Visual presentations without accompanying audio encourage students to talk about what they see. 6. Individuals or small groups put copies of their dictated accounts in a special folder to be read by others in the class. Accounts dictated by one group are other-author texts for other groups. 7. Students listen to teacher-read stories and comment on what they liked about the stories. If students have a favorite story, they may wish to take turns acting it out as a simple, improvised dramatization. Computer-Based Language Activities Many computer-based programs are now available as resources for teaching immediately useful English words and language structures and for helping students practice their new skills. These materials may be used for additional lessons or may provide ideas about language elements to emphasize. The list below includes some of the most widely used and readily available programs. Some are intended for use with young students, but all can be used successfully with younger or older students. BBC Learning English www.bbc.co.uk Berlitz Kids Materials www.berlitz.us Random House Living Language www.randomhouse.com Rosetta Stone Learn a Language www.rosettastone.com Tell Me More English www.auralog.com World Language www.worldlanguage.com World of Reading www.wor.com
  • 71. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 59 Reading From Experience for Intermediate Students 59 SCHEDULING FOR INSTRUCTION When one dictated account has been used for the five-day sequence, work should already be underway on the next account. With each new dictation, some previously used words will be used again, so each account reinforces some previous learning. As students’ oral English fluency increases, they find it easier to read written English. Some rapid learners may be able to dictate a new account every other day or every third day. Others may need six or seven days with one account before dictating a new one. The schedule of dic- tation can be adjusted to suit individuals’ learning pace. One possible sched- ule of basic dictation and reinforcement activities is illustrated in Figure 3.7. This example shows how the intermediate students in one small group might spend their time after they have been dictating for several weeks. Figure 3.7 A Sample Weekly Schedule for Dictation and Related Activities Monday Thursday Scrambled List II (Account 8) Scrambled List II (Account 9) Discuss musical instruments Reread previous dictated accounts Dictate Account 9 (about musical Word Bank activities instruments) Discuss topic Reread previous dictated accounts Dictate Account 10 (about popcorn Browse classroom library preparation) View/discuss video clip about musical Browse classroom library instruments Friday Word Bank activities New Word Bank cards (from Account 9) Tuesday Sequential List (Account 10) Reread Account 9 Create thematic word poster Sequential List (Account 9) Word Bank activities New Word Bank cards (from Account 8) Browse classroom library Share previous dictated accounts with classmate Word Bank activities Browse classroom library Wednesday Reread Account 9 Scrambled List I (Account 9) Word Bank activities Browse classroom library View and discuss video about popcorn Class popcorn preparation activity
  • 72. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 60 60 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners GROUP VERSUS INDIVIDUAL DICTATION The plan described here may be used with a small group of intermediate students or an individual who is functioning at this level. There are advan- tages and challenges to each variation. Group discussion of an experience stimulates greater oral language activity because the energy of the group encourages individual participation. Shy students may feel comfortable using their still imperfect English because they see their peers’ ideas accepted by the teacher. Students may also enjoy a group discussion more because they are communicating with peers as well as with the teacher. On the other hand, when the teacher is working with an individual, the teacher can devote complete attention to the learner’s ideas and may be able to encourage the student to speak more and thus build fluency more rapidly. Also, the discussion can be fully centered on the individual’s observations and perceptions, providing the student with maximum support. Finally, the individual account can be prepared on regular notebook-sized paper instead of on chart paper. Some teachers may prefer to use a computer for composing the account, inviting the student to watch the words appear on the screen during dictation. When accounts are in electronic form, they are easily saved and can be printed out as needed. Taking dictation from a group can be a challenge for a teacher because each member needs to be encouraged to contribute while the more outspo- ken students need to be kept from dominating the dictation, perhaps by use of a turn-taking routine that involves each student having a say before anyone can make a new contribution. In a group, individual students’ con- tributions are likely to give the others ideas, and the resulting mix of per- spectives and contributions brings richness to the dictated account. In contrast, when only one student is dictating, turn-taking is not an issue, but the individual also does not benefit from hearing others and getting ideas from them about what to say and how to say it. Once a group account is completed, each student needs a chance to read it silently and aloud, and readings also need to be scheduled during the week for added reinforcement. In addition, each student needs to underline known words, work through the structured lists, and obtain Word Bank cards for known words. Completing these steps for individu- als within a group is more time consuming and requires more careful orga- nization than completing the steps for just one individual. For example, in a group setting, each student’s copies of the account and structured lists need to be easily distinguished from those of the other students in the group. At the same time, group members usually provide good support and encouragement to each other at each step of the way and are likely to help keep things organized once they understand the steps in the process. Over time, learning and retention may not be as strong for students working in a group because individuals usually retain fewer words from a group account than from accounts they dictated individually. This is because other students’ vocabularies and expressions are usually not as
  • 73. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 61 Reading From Experience for Intermediate Students 61 easy for the individuals to remember as their own, especially if the group members speak several different native languages. However, if the group members are compatible, the advantages of their working together and communicating with one another may outweigh the challenges. Also, overall dictating time is shortened when a group creates an account together in comparison with several individuals dictating accounts sepa- rately. Less time for dictation allows more time for individual work with the accounts and skill-building activities. Because LEA is such a flexible program, teachers may effectively use indi- vidual accounts, group accounts, or a combination of the two to meet student needs. They may follow a group discussion with individually dictated accounts, or they may cycle students through a series of individual and group dictating experiences, providing the advantages of each to all students. TRANSITION TO THE ADVANCED LEVEL Most intermediate students need to continue the intermediate program for several months or longer to build strong skills with oral English, develop comfort with reading, and acquire a substantial reading vocabulary. In addition, they need exposure to a variety of other-author materials before they are ready for more advanced activities. As a rule, intermediate students can be considered ready for advanced work when they can • demonstrate confidence when using English orally and have developed reasonable fluency, • consistently recognize at least 75% of the words on their first read- ings of dictated accounts, • show high levels of comfort when reading dictated accounts and other materials in English, and • express eagerness to learn more and read more challenging materials. SUMMARY The reading abilities of intermediate students are developed through student-dictated accounts that are used in a cycle of activities that develop comprehension and fluency while building reading vocabulary. The dic- tated accounts are based on experiences that are meaningful, relevant, and of interest to the students. Students find the texts highly readable because they reflect the students’ own language. Repeated contacts with the dic- tated accounts and related activities reinforce and extend learning. The program also enables ongoing assessment of oral language needs. The same basic plan may be used for individual or group instruction. Lessons in word recognition and writing are also part of intermediate students’ programs. These aspects of instruction are addressed in Chapters 5 and 6.
  • 74. 03-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 62
  • 75. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 63 4 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students I n an LEA context, ELLs are considered advanced students when they have some ability to communicate in English and are proficient speak- ers and readers in their native languages. If they have participated in an LEA program, they have also been successful with intermediate LEA activities. These learners understand and are comfortable with the reading process. They do not need to learn to read but rather need to learn to read English. Also, they need to refine their reading abilities with a wide variety of texts while also learning the subtleties of English (e.g., conventions, idioms, colloquialisms). As is true for beginners and intermediate students, advanced students may be of any age. It is tempting to assume that confident, talkative students are advanced students for LEA purposes. However, a student’s actual perfor- mance with the activities in this chapter should be the criterion for decid- ing if the label advanced is appropriate. Some students who speak English with some fluency and who can read their native language will struggle with the activities. Because of the flexibility of LEA, students can easily shift from advanced activities to intermediate and back again as needed, depending on their actual classroom performance. 63
  • 76. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 64 64 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners PROCEDURES FOR ADVANCED STUDENTS The teaching plan for advanced learners is similar to that for intermediate students; it is based on student-dictated accounts that reflect experiences the students find memorable and meaningful. However, the teacher helps students rephrase ideas as needed so that the dictated account reflects accepted conventions of English usage. Reading skills and oral language facility are developed together, using the accounts as the basic reading materials and as models of English usage. Additional language and reading activities are included in the instructional programs to refine and extend skills. Although dictated accounts form the core of the program, their use diminishes as students can comfortably read other-author materials. Basic Teaching Plan This plan is organized into daily instructional units for a small group of students or for an individual student. It can be adapted for use in a regular classroom, a special ELL classroom, or a tutorial setting. We have organized the lessons to be completed in five days. Some learners may need more time; others less. We focus in this section only on the use of dictated accounts to make clear the sequence that results in effective learning. We then suggest additional activities to refine and extend advanced students’ skills. Day 1: Building a Context and Creating the Dictated Account The first day involves two instructional purposes: building a context for reading that stimulates students’ use of oral English and creating a dictated account that reflects students’ English usage. Both purposes are accomplished in a supportive context that builds students’ confidence as learners. Building a Context for Reading. Advanced learners in an LEA program need context-building to prepare for dictation, but they may require less time for this preparation because of their greater familiarity with reading. Also, advanced students usually respond well to a broad range of experi- ences for dictation because of their fluency and confidence with English. Although they may be interested in discussing and dictating about famil- iar, personal experiences, they are also likely to talk about their subject area learning and what they discover from television, radio, and the Internet. Literary works can also serve as effective stimuli for discussion and dictation for advanced students. Stories, novels, and poems broaden their experience, provide useful models of English usage, and extend their English vocabularies. Fables and folklore from English-speaking cultures will interest many, as will tales from their native cultures, translated into
  • 77. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 65 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 65 English. After discussing a story and their reactions to it, students may dic- tate a brief retelling or summary of the story, a new ending, a character analysis, or a comparison of the events with those of another story. Videos and animations on a variety of subjects can serve as other effec- tive stimuli for discussion and dictation. These resources engage students and supplement their knowledge of English with vivid pictures that aid comprehension. Some examples are film versions of fictional narratives, documentaries, film tours of geographical areas, and dramatized historical events. The emphasis may be on America or the students’ native countries. Students may be given printed copies of a film’s narration or a summary of the content before the viewing. Reading a script or summary with teacher assistance can help students prepare for the viewing; discussion and rereading after the viewing helps students review the content before the dictation. Peregoy and Boyle (2005) present additional ideas for using films with ELLs. Materials from subject-area lessons can also serve as effective stimuli for discussion and dictation, and reviewing the material reinforces students’ learning. Here are four examples: 1. Students discuss and dictate about science class experiments, then illustrate the steps on their copies of the accounts. 2. Students discuss and dictate about key events in history, creating straightforward retellings of events or livelier forms, such as invented dialogues. 3. Students formulate and dictate their own word problems, modeling theirs on those from mathematics lessons. Small groups create dif- ferent problems and exchange them. 4. Students discuss and dictate about the sports they are learning in physical education class or the projects they are working on in music or art classes. Such dictations are illustrated with drawings and/or audio creations. Creating the Dictated Account. The dictated account is created in the same way for advanced students as it is for intermediate students. In brief, the steps are as follows: 1. Involve students in discussing the topic, encouraging participation by all. Discussion gives students a chance to develop fluency with English, build their English speaking vocabularies, formulate their thoughts, and (if students are working as a group) engage in a col- laborative effort. 2. Invite students to offer statements for the dictated account, aiming to get a contribution from everyone. Record the statements on chart
  • 78. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 66 66 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners paper, writing each student’s exact words or record them in an elec- tronic document. 3. Read the account to the group (or individual) once or twice, using natural pace and cadence and pointing smoothly to the words while pronouncing them. 4. Read the account with the group (or individual) two or three times. Then number the account (#1 for the first account the group or indi- vidual has dictated, #2 for the second dictation, and so on). Next, make copies of the account for instructional use—one for yourself and one for each student who was included in the dictation. On your copy, make notes of usage and vocabulary issues that you want to address on the following day. The account and teacher notes in Figure 4.1 illustrate the outcome of these first steps for an individual. The learner had gone to the beach with friends and had taken photos. She brought these to show the class and used one as the basis for her dictated account. Day 2: Rereading the Dictated Account and Making Revisions The second day involves two purposes: rereading the account and revising statements with teacher help. You, the teacher, make the initial decisions about what should be revised, doing so with consideration for Figure 4.1 A Dictated Account and the Teacher’s Assessment of Needs The Beach #1 My friends is in the beach. They are looking to the north. And they think that the people that live there is having cold. They are looking for shells. Too they swam one time. They eat very much because they have hungry. The ocean is blue and some- times it looks green. Assessment of needs: 1. Use of prepositions on and in 2. Use of phrases to be hungry, to be cold, and others with the same construction 3. Use of also and too 4. Review of subject-verb agreement 5. Uses of that and who 6. Vocabulary (“They swam one time” although not incorrect can be said less awkwardly.)
  • 79. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 67 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 67 the impact the revisions may have on the student’s feelings, confidence, and language learning. To prepare, have your copy of the account (with the needs assessment) and a copy for the student. Rereading the Account. Give the student the account, keeping your copy nearby for reference. Read the account aloud exactly as it is written, read- ing smoothly to provide a model of fluent English and pointing to the words as you read them. Next, have the student read the account silently and then orally once or twice. Supply words as needed when the student reads, and avoid correcting errors in usage that are reflected in the lan- guage. The purpose of these first readings is to acknowledge and honor the student’s initial effort. If, after a second reading, a student does not eas- ily recognize at least 75% of the words in the account, it may be wise to shift the student to intermediate level LEA activities for a while. Keep this possibility in mind as you proceed with the next steps. Revising the Account. Have ready a clean sheet of paper (or a new elec- tronic document) for the revision of the account that you will prepare. Use the same number for this account as you used for the original (i.e., #1 for the revision of account #1, #2 for the revision of account #2). First, read the account aloud again while the student follows. Stop at the first point where an issue with usage or vocabulary occurs. Explain how the expres- sion of the idea can be improved and have the student repeat the revised statement several times. To illustrate, here is a dialogue between the teacher and the student who dictated the account in Figure 4.1: Teacher: My friends is in the beach. That’s a good beginning. Remember that “are” is the word we use when we mean more than one. My friends are . . . Also we say “at the beach,” not “in the beach.” My friends are at the beach. Say it after me: My friends are at the beach. Student: My friends are at the beach. Teacher: Again. Student: My friends are at the beach. Teacher: That’s right! (writing on the clean sheet of paper) Let’s revise that first statement. My friends are at the beach. Now let’s continue with your account. They are looking to the north. And they think that the people that live there is having cold. Those are also great ideas! Let me explain how to say that second idea: And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. We say “people are” instead of “people is” and we say they are “having cold weather” instead of just “having cold.” And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. Say
  • 80. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 68 68 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners it after me: And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. Student: And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. Weather is on TV, yes? Teacher: Yes! We see the weather report every day on TV. Last night, the weather report said it would rain today. And it did. We’re hav- ing rainy weather today. Let’s say this sentence again. I’ll say it, then you say it. And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. Student: And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. Teacher: Excellent! (writing on the paper) We’ll revise that part, too. Here’s what we have so far (indicating that the student should look at the revision): My friends are at the beach. They are looking to the north. And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. Read it with me. Student: (reading along with the teacher) My friends are at the beach. They are looking to the north. And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. Teacher: Great! Let’s continue. They are looking for shells. Too they swam one time. That’s a good statement about the shells. And here’s how we can revise the next idea: Also they swam one time. “Also” has the same meaning as “too,” but it’s the word we usually use at the beginning of a sentence. Also, they swam one time. Say it after me. Student: Also, they swam one time. Teacher: That’s it. Watch how I write these two sentences. The first one is just fine (writing): They are looking for shells. And here’s the one we’re going to revise (writing): Also, they swam one time. Student: Also, they swam one time. Teacher: Right! Here’s what we have so far (indicating that the student should look at the revision): My friends are at the beach. They are looking to the north. And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. They are looking for shells. Also, they swam one time. Read it with me. Student: My friends are at the beach. They are looking to the north. And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. They are looking for shells. Also, they swam one time.
  • 81. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 69 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 69 Teacher: Excellent! Now let’s look at the next sentence. They eat very much because they have hungry. Another great detail! Here’s how we say that: They eat very much because they are hungry. We don’t say “they have hungry” but “they are hungry. Say it after me: They are hungry. Student: They are hungry. Teacher: Exactly! We’ll write that next (writing): They eat very much because they are hungry. Student: They eat very much because they are hungry. Teacher: Great! And the last sentence is perfect just as it is. So we just need to add that to the revision and we’ll be finished (writing): The ocean is blue and sometimes it looks green. Now follow along while I read the revision (reading and pointing to the words): My friends are at the beach. They are looking to the north. And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. They are looking for shells. Also, they swam one time. They eat very much because they are hungry. The ocean is blue and some- times it looks green. Now read it with me. Student: (reading with the teacher) My friends are at the beach. They are looking to the north. And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. They are looking for shells. Also, they swam one time. They eat very much because they are hun- gry. The ocean is blue and sometimes it looks green. Teacher Matilde Sanchez-Villalpando was working at Oxnard Community College (Oxnard, CA) when she devised this strategy for the ELLs in her classes. It’s a good example of how teachers can combine their use of LEA activities with work on specific elements of usage to help students communicate in English more effectively. Several principles underlie this strategy. First, the teacher avoids a rules-based explanation. For example, this teacher did not explain that friends is third person plural and therefore takes a third person plural verb. Rather, the explanation was simple and placed the emphasis on hav- ing the student repeat (imitate) the correct usage. Second, it is neither nec- essary nor desirable to revise everything that needs improvement. This teacher left the second “that” in the third sentence instead of changing it to the more appropriate “who,” deciding that this revision was not a priority. In addition, the teacher left unchanged the student’s shift from the present tense to the past, then back to the present. Furthermore, the teacher did not suggest rewording “they eat very much” to a statement that would have sounded better to the teacher’s ears. The priority was to attend to the most
  • 82. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 70 70 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners important deviations from conventional English without overwhelming the student. Third, repetition is used to build familiarity with new lan- guage patterns. In the example, the teacher asked the student to read the revised account from the beginning several times. This reinforced learning and also helped her see that the content and sequencing of her ideas were preserved. If a student becomes confused or seems discouraged with the number of changes, other planned revisions can be left undone. It is more impor- tant to make a few revisions that the student understands and remem- bers than to address every usage issue in the account and risk having the student retain none of them. Regardless of how many changes are made, the student needs to be an active participant, not just a passive recipient of a teacher’s corrections. Occasionally, you may wish to have the student suggest another way of saying an idea so as to make the process more collaborative. Rereading the Revised Account. After making revisions, give the student a copy of the revised account and keep one for yourself. First, have the student read the revision silently once or twice, then aloud. During the oral reading, supply any words the student does not recognize immedi- ately. Also, keep notes on your copy of unknown words, pronunciation difficulties, and other evident needs. Keep the revised copy with your notes for later reference. Figure 4.2 shows the revised account in this example along with the teacher’s notes on the student’s first oral reading of the revision. It is interesting to note that one of the words the student did not recognize immediately was “weather,” a word the teacher added to the account. The teacher could tell from the student’s response that she understood the word and was thus assured that adding it would not result in confusion. Still, the student had not used the word originally, so it is not surprising that it remained unfamiliar. At this point in the process, if a student does not easily recognize at least 75% of the words in the revised account, the student is almost cer- tainly not ready for LEA work as an advanced student and will make better progress by engaging in the intermediate-level activities described in Chapter 3. Day 3: Rereading the Revised Account On the third day, students read the account again for two purposes: to aid retention of previous learning and to identify words not recog- nized immediately so that they can be learned. For advanced students, the focus is on unknown words rather than known words because, being more familiar with the reading process, they are not likely to be discour- aged by attending to what they do not know. Also, because of their
  • 83. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 71 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 71 Figure 4.2 A Revised Dictated Account and the Teacher’s Additional Notes The Beach #1 My friends are at the beach. They are looking to the north. And they think that the people that live there are having cold weather. They are looking for shells. Also, they swam one time. They eat very much because they are hungry. The ocean is blue and sometimes it looks green. Oral reading assessment Unknown words: weather very sometimes Pronunciation difficulties: 1. The English /r/ in words (friends, north, hungry, green) 2. The difference between /sh/ and /ch/ (uses them interchangeably) greater fluency with English, they are likely to recognize most of the words in the accounts they dictate and thus have a good base on which to build new vocabulary. Advanced students may overestimate or underestimate what they know, just as intermediate students may do, and their retention of words may be inconsistent. With encouragement and acceptance, they learn to assess their own knowledge realistically, and the consistency of their retention improves. To prepare, have available the student’s copy of the revised account (from yesterday) and your own copy. Reading the Revised Account Silently and Identifying Unknown Words. First, the student reads the account silently and underlines any words that he or she does not immediately recognize. Explain that it’s common for learners not to recognize all the words in a revised account, that you don’t expect 100% recognition, and that you will not be surprised if the student finds some of the words unfamiliar. Not all students need such reassurance, but most appreciate knowing that 100% accuracy is not expected. You may find it useful to compare the words the student underlines at this point with the words the student missed when reading aloud the pre- vious day. Some students recognize more words at this point than they did the previous day; others recognize fewer; still others have difficulty with exactly the same words on Day 2 and Day 3. Over time, you will be able to detect patterns of learning and retention for students that will help you better understand their strengths.
  • 84. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 72 72 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Reading the Revised Account Orally. Next, have the student read the account aloud. Supply unknown words promptly and without comment. Doing so will keep the student’s attention focused on the meaning and will encourage fluent reading. As the student reads, attend to the overall per- formance. If the first reading is confident, fluent, and accurate, one read- ing is probably enough. If the student reads slowly, with hesitation or confusion, have the student read several times until fluency improves. Repeated readings help build students’ confidence and reinforce their word learning. Offer praise for all the readings and make note of any difficulties on your copy of the account. This is another point at which it is wise to make a quick assessment of the student’s performance. If a student does not easily recognize at least 75% of the words in the account after a second reading, it may be that the student should be engaged with LEA activities at the intermediate level. Day 4: Rereading the Revised Account and Revising the Original On the fourth day, students reread the revised account again to rein- force learning further, and they return to the original dictation to revise aspects of the wording on their own. These activities serve to reinforce reading skills and help students become more conscious of the patterns of usage to which they need to attend. To prepare, have available the copy of the revised account on which the student worked on Day 3 (with the first underlined words) and a copy of the original dictated account (before revi- sions were made). Reading the Revised Account Silently. First, the student silently reads the Day 3 copy of the account and underlines any words that he or she does not immediately recognize. The student can do this second underlining with a different colored pencil so that this day’s word identification can easily be compared with the previous day’s work. Again, explain that it’s common for learners not to recognize all the words in a revised account, that you don’t expect 100% recognition, and that you will not be surprised if the student finds some of the words unfamiliar, even words that the student recognized the day before. Reading the Revised Account Orally. Next, have the student read the account aloud. As before, supply unknown or forgotten words promptly and without comment and make note of the student’s overall performance to determine if one oral reading is enough or if repeated readings are needed. The goal is to have the student read the account easily with little or no help from you. Again, use the 75% rule to judge the appropriateness of the activity. Revising the Original Account. Next, give the student a fresh, unmarked copy of the original account to read silently. Make sure the student
  • 85. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 73 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 73 understands that this is the original, unrevised dictation. Invite the student to spot words or phrases that are not in line with conventional English usage. Having spent several days working on the revised account, the student will usually be able to notice what has been changed. Have the student make revisions orally or in writing, referring to the revised version of the account if needed. This activity helps the student recognize the learn- ing that has occurred since the original dictation and also serves to reinforce the new vocabulary and language structures. Day 5: Learning Words On the fifth day, students devote time to learning the words they have not recognized or have recognized inconsistently for the past four days. The goal is to help them purposefully increase their sight vocabularies and practice a word-learning strategy that they can use on their own. To pre- pare, have the copy of the revised account on which the student has under- lined unfamiliar words, your own notes of the student’s performance, and a stack of 3 × 5 note cards on which to write selected words. Learning a Word Learning Strategy. To learn a word, a student needs to hear and say it while looking at it, then use it in a conversational way so that it becomes familiar. Once students have done this with your guidance, they can do it in pairs or a small group. Here are the steps: 1. Select a word from the current dictated account that the student has not recognized immediately. This may be a word the student has underlined or has not read with ease when reading the account orally. Print the word neatly on a 3 × 5 card, using a wide-tipped pen to create a clear representation of the word. In the corner of the card, put the number of the story, explaining that it can be used it to locate the word in its original context as needed. 2. Have the student look at the word while you say it. Then have the student say it while continuing to look at it. 3. Have the student talk about the word’s meaning and use the word in the context of meaningful statements. Model as needed. 4. Repeat these three steps with four to five other selected words. 5. Have the student go through the cards several times, shuffling them each time and saying the words aloud. 6. Have the student put the word cards on a ring or in a sturdy con- tainer for storage. Here is a dialogue to illustrate how a teacher used this strategy with the student who dictated the account about the beach. The teacher has
  • 86. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 74 74 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners created word cards for weather, very, and sometimes. The student had not recognized these words immediately in one or more rereadings of the account during the week. On the back of each, the teacher has also put the number of the dictated account. If the student forgets one of the words in later activities, she can return to her copy of the account and use the con- text to figure it out. Teacher: (holding up the word card) Here’s the first word for you to learn today. This is the word I added to the account: weather. Say it after me: weather. Student: Weather. I see weather last night on TV. He say more rain! Teacher: Yes, we’re going to have more rainy weather, aren’t we? Do you like rainy weather? Or do you like weather that is warm with sunshine? Student: Weather with sunshine! Teacher: I like warm weather, too. Say the word again (directing the student’s attention to the word card). Student: Weather. Teacher: Good! Here’s the next word: very. Say it after me: very. Student: Very. Teacher: Right. You said that your friends ate very much because they were hungry. When you are very hungry, that means you are really hungry and feel that you can eat a lot of food. When are you very hungry? Student: I very hungry now! Teacher: I’m very hungry, too. It’s almost time for lunch! We use the word “very” in many ways. I can say that I’m very cold or that I’m very warm. Or I can say that I’m very happy. Student: My mother very happy today. Teacher: Why is your mother very happy? Student: She has a new job today. Teacher: That’s wonderful! I can see why she’s very happy! Let’s look at the last word: sometimes. Look at it and say it after me. Sometimes. Student: Sometimes.
  • 87. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 75 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 75 Teacher: That’s correct. You said that the ocean is blue and sometimes it’s green. That’s true. Sometimes it does look green. Sometimes means not always but only once in a while. The sky is not always the same color, too. It’s blue, but sometimes it may be another color. What other color can the sky sometimes be? Student: Sometimes sky is black. At night, it’s black. Teacher: That’s true. What other colors can the sky sometimes be? Student: Sometimes gray. Today is gray because of rain. Teacher: That’s right: Sometimes the sky looks gray because of all the clouds. As this dialogue illustrates, the teacher may verbalize the meaning of a word but does not give a lengthy explanation, knowing that the student understands the meaning. This student used two of the words correctly in the original dictation and readily understood the teacher’s addition to the account (weather). She just didn’t recognize the words consistently when seeing them again. The teacher’s objective was ready recognition. The con- versation also focused the student’s attention on the words and provided additional examples of the words in meaningful contexts. Reinforcing Learned Words. After the teacher-led review, the student read all three words several times by shuffling the cards and reading them one at a time. The teacher then put the cards on a ring, explaining that the student would be adding new words every week and that she should review the words on her own at least once a day. Some students need only a few reviews of a word to retain it in their reading vocabulary. Others may need to see the word many more times to retain it. Retention is enhanced when students see newly learned words in different contexts as well as on word cards. Some words will appear in other dictated accounts and in the other texts students read. Very and sometimes are examples of words that a student is likely to see elsewhere in a variety of contexts. The word weather, though not obscure, may not be seen as frequently and may be harder to retain for that reason. Additional activities, described later in the chapter, provide more opportunities for ensuring retention of learned words. Examples of Dictated Accounts From Advanced Students Examples of the variety of dictations that may be obtained from advanced students are shown in Figures 4.3, 4.4, and 4.5. Needs assess- ments and revisions are included for each. In preparation for dictation, the students were shown pictures of people on a beach, in a restaurant, and with baseball equipment, respectively. Students were invited to discuss the pictures and based their dictations on the discussions. The resulting
  • 88. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 76 76 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners accounts illustrate the vocabulary and language patterns these students had at their command and reveal the kinds of usage issues that may arise for students at this level. The dictations are representative of advanced students’ accounts, demonstrating relatively good mastery of oral English and expressive fluency. The accounts also reflect students’ assimilation of various concepts related to American culture. Figure 4.3 At the Beach (Original Dictated Account and Revision) At the Beach (Original) My friends went to the beach last summer. This beach is in California. They drink soda. They collected shells. They have camera and take the pictures. They swam in the ocean and saw many sharks. They had afraid. They stayed in the beach four weeks. They are tired. They slept for one day. At the Beach (Revised) My friends went to the beach last summer. This beach is in California. They drank soda. They collected shells. They had a camera and took pictures. They swam in the ocean and saw many sharks. They were afraid. They stayed at the beach four weeks. They were tired. They slept for one day. Assessment of needs 1. Use of articles a and the 2. Use of linking verbs and predicate adjectives (were afraid instead of have afraid) 3. Use of prepositions (on the beach instead of in the beach) 4. Verb tense consistency The revisions show various ways to revise unconventional or awk- ward phrases and sentences. The teachers tried to retain the student’s orig- inal meaning and as many of the original words as possible. On occasion, the teachers added new words to state the idea effectively. For example, in Figure 4.5 the teacher added things in revising the final sentence. When new words are added in this way, it is best for the teacher to use words already familiar to the student or words that are in common usage so that the student is likely to hear or see them again. In completing needs assessments, it is most useful to indicate the type of error (e.g., use of articles or verb tense) instead of simply listing the spe- cific errors. Focusing on error categories will make it easier to plan instruc- tion in English usage. For instance, if several accounts reveal difficulties with prepositions, instruction can be planned in that element of usage. The accounts shown in Figures 4.3 through 4.5 are representative of the relatively brief accounts that advanced students sometimes dictate.
  • 89. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 77 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 77 Figure 4.4 To the City (Original Dictated Account and Revision) To the City (Original) They went to the city. Then they went to the club and they danced very much. They saw in the club a movie star. Silvia danced with him. Then Mati dance with him. In the club drank wine and then drank coca-cola. Then went to the restaurant and they ate in the restaurant soup, chicken, potatoes, and salad. To the City (Revised) They went to the city. Then they went to the club and they danced a lot. In the club they saw a movie star. Silvia danced with him. Then Mati danced with him. In the club they drank wine and then drank coca-cola. Then they went to the restaurant, and there they ate soup, chicken, potatoes, and salad. Assessment of needs 1. Use of subjects in sentences [(they) drank wine . . . (they) went to the restaurant] 2. Verb tense (Mati danced with him) 3. Awkward phrasing (they danced very much may be improved, as may be the positioning of prepositional phrases; e.g., they saw in the club and they ate in the restaurant) Figure 4.5 My Family (Original Dictated Account and Revision) My Family (Original Account) This is my family. We are live in San Luis Potosi city. We are Mexican. Sometimes we are play baseball. Ever my father plays with me. We have two teams. Mine are my brother, my sister, and 1. We are the champions. My mother never wants to play with we. She prefer stays in home for make to eat. My Family (Revised Account) This is my family. We are living in the city of San Luis Potosi. We are Mexican. Sometimes we play baseball. My father always plays with us. We have two teams. My brother, my sister, and I are one team. We are the champions. My mother never wants to play with us. She prefers to stay home to make us things to eat. Assessment of needs 1. Verb forms (are live, are play, and she prefer need revision) 2. Use of objective pronouns (us instead of we) 3. Awkward/unconventional constructions (stays in home for make to eat; ever my father; we have two teams . . . mine are)
  • 90. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 78 78 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Depending on their fluency with English and their interest in the topic, students may compose lengthier dictations. Figure 4.6 shows one of these: an account from a small group of advanced students that stemmed from their study of the atomic explosion at Hiroshima. The main source of infor- mation was John Hersey’s book, Hiroshima, which the group read with the teacher. Following the reading, which was accompanied by considerable discussion, the group dictated the account. It illustrates their growing mas- tery of oral English and reveals how vivid the narrative was to them. Figure 4.6 Hiroshima (A Dictated Account) A flash! There was a bunch of dust. The wind after the flash. People’s skin starts to burn. Buildings fall. People are killed. There is a big fire in the middle of town when the bomb hit. Nobody knows it’s an atomic bomb. People think they are being bombed but it is only one bomb. Dr. Fuji lay in dreadful pain. Father La Salle he helped a lot of people get out of the ruins. Dr. Fuji helped a lot by putting bandages on their injuries. There is a storm and flood and a lot of people drowned. Father La Salle made a raft to go across the river to try and save people that were drowning. He reached for a lady’s hand and her skin just comes off and he sat there staring at her for a couple of minutes. She drowned. After the storm there is a lot of dead bodies floating around. A strange disease starts to wipe out the people. People go back to their houses to see if they can get their belongings. The center where the bomb hit the clay tiles melted. The melting point is one thousand three hundred degrees (1,300) centigrade. Radiation reading was 1.5 at the highest. It was really hot about 104 degrees. It was night and this little girl told the father she is cold. He took off his jacket and gave it to the little girl and she said she was still cold. She died after that. No one knew about the radiation. Radiation killed a lot of people. We learned if there is a nuclear war, there will be a disaster. 78,150 people were killed at Hiroshima, 13,983 people were missing, and 37,425 people were injured. A group of ten advanced adolescents learned words and behaviors associated with typical American social events. One day they discussed what they would need to remember if they were invited to an American home for dinner, an experience each student had had or would soon have. After discussing key words (host, hostess, fork, napkin, delicious, etc.), the teacher presented a dinner party issue: being served a food that one does not wish to eat. The students read about the situation with teacher help, using a published scenario (Kettering, 1975), then worked in groups to decide on the best response to this awkward moment. Each group role- played the scene to show how they would respond and explained why they would respond in that way. Further discussion included talk about American eating customs and tastes and various aspects of acceptable guest behavior. Finally, students dictated individual accounts about the classroom activity. These dictations reveal their varying reactions to the
  • 91. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 79 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 79 activity and illustrate the immediate use of words and phrases introduced and used during the lesson. An American family invited a guest to their dinner. Though hostess has made a special dinner for him and has used her best dishes and tablecloth, liver was served, which was hard for him to eat. The guest was explaining to her that he didn’t like liver. You had better say yes or no clearly when the host family ask you whether you like it or not. When you have dinner with an American family, you shouldn’t be silent and should talk about a lot of things. I think it is bad manner to keep silent while we’re eating. We should give the hostess some compliments about food which is served. When I went to a din- ner, they served too much, so I can’t eat all of the food but I try to. Cake is too sweet. When I had dinner with my host family, I said to them, “I like this very much” even in the case I don’t like it very much. Taste in America is too sweet. For example, ice cream and chocolate cake. And American one dish is much more than Japanese one. These original, unrevised dictations provide further illustrations of the level of English usage and vocabulary that might be seen among advanced students. Follow-Up Activities Advanced students need repeated contacts with dictated accounts and the words in the accounts to retain what they have learned and to build an ever-stronger base for future learning. The most useful follow-up activities give students meaningful reasons to reread earlier dictations and to see learned words in new contexts. Here are six suggestions for meeting these goals. 1. Make extra copies of dictated accounts from individuals and groups. Put these in a folder in the classroom and encourage students to read them individually and to one another. 2. Have students make their own dictionaries in which they list newly learned words. They may dictate definitions or write their own. To illustrate words, students may cut pictures from magazines or news- papers or draw their own. Encourage students to use several illustra- tions, if possible, to reinforce the concept represented by the word.
  • 92. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 80 80 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners 3. Have students cut out or draw pictures that illustrate words they are learning, put them on cards, and create a matching game in which word cards are matched with picture cards. Have students work individually or in pairs to play. Words from the beach dictation that would be suitable for this activity (with possible illustrations) are as follows: beach (a picture of a sand beach) north (the kind of directional indicator found on a map) people (a picture of a crowd of people) cold (a wintry scene with people dressed for cold weather) shells (a picture of several shells) ocean (a picture of ocean waves) eat (a picture of one or more people eating) blue (a rectangle colored blue) green (a rectangle colored green) 4. Write short accounts for students to read that contain words from their dictated accounts used in different contexts. Have students read these individually or in pairs. Tailor the account accordingly, making it longer and more complex or shorter and simpler, depend- ing on the particular students who will be reading it. Although most of the words in the account should be words assumed to be familiar to the students, new words can be used as needed to enhance mean- ing and to give students a chance to figure them out. Here is an example of a teacher-written account prepared to reinforce the beach dictation. My friends and I went to the beach to look for shells. The weather was warm, and the ocean was very blue. We looked for shells for a long time, and then we swam in the ocean. After that, we were hungry and so we had lunch. We had a lot of fun that day! 5. Give students copies of dictated accounts from which words have been replaced by blanks and have them write in the omitted words as they read. This thinking-writing activity is based on the original cloze exercises that were introduced by W. Taylor (1953) and have been used by many for assessment and comprehension practice: Bernhardt (1991); Carr, Dewitz, and Patberg (1989); and Nessel and Graham (2007). Every nth word can be omitted, or words can be omitted selectively. Here is an example of a cloze exercise created from the beach dictation with every fifth word replaced by a blank:
  • 93. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 81 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 81 My friends are at ___ beach. They are looking ___ the north. And they ___ that the people living ___ are having cold ___. They are looking for ___. Also, they swam one ___. They eat very much ___ they are hungry. The ___ is blue and sometimes ___ looks green. Here is an example of a cloze exercise with selected words replaced by a blank. In this example, omitted words are those that can most easily be identified from the context of the sentence: My friends are at the ___. They are looking to the north. And they think that the ___ that live there are having ___ weather. They are looking for ___. Also, they swam one time. They eat very much because they are ___. The ocean is blue and sometimes it looks ___ 6. Have students categorize words from a dictated account, using cat- egories you supply or that they decide on themselves. For example, words from the dictation about the beach could be organized into these teacher-defined categories: Places Colors Actions beach blue looking north green swam ocean eat The words from the account can be put on slips of paper for students to move into the categories on their desktops, or students can be given a chart like this one and can write the words in the categories. This activity is effective even when the number of categories and the number of words in each category are small, as shown here. The student doing the categorization must still read each word and decide if it can be categorized or not, so the amount of thinking is considerable even if the final display is brief. Working With a Group The focus so far has been on how an individual advanced student can be engaged in LEA activities to build reading and language skills. The same procedures can be modified for use with a group. One teacher’s work will illustrate. Three advanced learners were in the teacher’s middle school ELL class. The female student had emigrated from Thailand with her family; the male students had come from Vietnam and Pakistan. Because they got along well as classmates, the teacher frequently grouped them together for dictation and subsequent work with the dictated account. The students usually had their own ideas for topics for dictation, and this time they
  • 94. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 82 82 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners decided to pretend to be siblings in Thailand and tell an invented story of their life. The female student provided the names of the siblings, choosing her own favorites: Niran and Sunan for the brothers and Mali for the sister. She also gave the others suggestions for other details based on her life in Thailand, but the males contributed their own ideas as well. The three students talked a great deal about each part of the account. Once they agreed on what to say, they formulated statements for the teacher to write on the chart. Their account, shown in Figure 4.7, reflects only a small part of the rich discussion they had in the process of composing it. On the second day, each student received a copy of the account to read silently. They marked statements that they thought needed revision as individuals, then discussed their ideas as a group with the teacher. All had noted the absence of some articles. The teacher praised them for this and showed them other places where the or an or a would be effective additions. The revised account, prepared by the teacher, is shown in Figure 4.8. On the third day, the teacher gave each student a copy of the revised account. They read this silently and marked the words they did not recognize immediately. They then took turns reading paragraphs aloud while the teacher took notes on each one’s performance. On the fourth day, the students read the revised account silently and again underlined words they did not recognize immediately. The teacher then gave each a copy of the original account, and they worked together to revise it, discussing their thoughts as a group but writing the changes they agreed to on their own copies. Because the changes all involved the additions of articles, the group had little difficulty making these revisions, but they did need to read carefully to spot all the places where articles were missing. Figure 4.7 A Dictated Account: Two Brothers and a Sister in Thailand Mali, Niran, and Sunan live in Thailand. They live in country with mother and father. They all work on farm. They grow bananas and coconuts, and they keep chickens. The father catches fish, too. They are very happy on the farm. One day Mali goes out to the garden to see if bananas are ready to pick. She sees two bunches of bananas that are ready to pick. So she calls Niran and Sunan to come and help her get bananas. Niran brings a ladder. He holds ladder while Sunan climbs up and cuts down bananas. Niran and Mali catch bananas before they land on the ground. They get sticky banana juice all over them. And so does Sunan because he is in trees. They carry bananas to the shed, and then they go in water to swim and wash off the sticky banana juice. Later that day, they eat dinner. Mother cooks rice with cucumber and celery and fish. They put soy sauce and lime on the rice and fish. They drink tea. And they have special dessert: banana and rice cakes with coconut. This is the favorite food of Niran and Sunan. They eat so many cakes that they are too full! After dinner, Mali and Niran and Sunan walk by water to watch sun go down. They see monkeys in the trees and chase them away because they don’t want monkeys to eat their bananas! They also see blue kingfishers. That is Mali’s favorite bird. Niran and Sunan feel better after walk. Then everyone goes to sleep.
  • 95. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 83 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 83 Figure 4.8 A Revised Dictated Account: Two Brothers and a Sister in Thailand Mali, Niran, and Sunan live in Thailand. They live in the country with their mother and father. They all work on the farm. They grow bananas and coconuts, and they keep chickens. The father catches fish, too. They are very happy on the farm. One day Mali goes out to the garden to see if the bananas are ready to pick. She sees two bunches of bananas that are ready to pick. So she calls Niran and Sunan to come and help her get the bananas. Niran brings a ladder. He holds the ladder while Sunan climbs up and cuts down the bananas. Niran and Mali catch the bananas before they land on the ground. They get sticky banana juice all over them. And so does Sunan because he is in the trees. They carry the bananas to the shed, and then they go in the water to swim and wash off the sticky banana juice. Later that day, they eat dinner. Mother cooks rice with cucumber and celery and fish. They put soy sauce and lime on the rice and fish. They drink tea. And they have a special dessert: banana and rice cakes with coconut. This is the favorite food of Niran and Sunan. They eat so many cakes that they are too full! After dinner, Mali and Niran and Sunan walk by the water to watch the sun go down. They see monkeys in the trees and chase them away because they don’t want monkeys to eat their bananas! They also see a blue kingfisher. That is Mali’s favorite bird. Niran and Sunan feel better after the walk. Then everyone goes to sleep. On the fifth day, the students worked together to select words for all to learn, choosing those they had underlined over the past two days. They decided that each would focus on two words that all three had not recog- nized and an additional four words that were uniquely unknown to them as individuals. The teacher printed word cards for each and had the usual discussions of the word meanings with each. While the teacher discussed selected words with one student, the others listened and occasionally chimed in. When all three had their six word cards, they took turns read- ing them to each other. Over the next few days, the students engaged in follow-up activities related to the dictation. The first was a cloze exercise, based on the revised account, in which the teacher replaced some words with blanks. The teacher made a point of deleting a number of articles from the account to give students extra practice with this element of usage. This cloze exercise is shown in Figure 4.9. Each student had a copy and wrote in the deleted words, but the group worked together to decide which words were missing. A second follow-up activity was the teacher-designed matching exer- cise shown in Figure 4.10. The teacher asked one of the students to draw a picture of several things mentioned in the dictated account. The teacher numbered each item and prepared a list of corresponding words. Students worked individually to put the correct numbers next to the pictured item, then compared their answers as a group. A third follow-up activity involved categorization as shown in Figure 4.11. The teacher gave each student three categories and a list of words from the dictated account. Working together, the students read each word, decided how to categorize it, and wrote the word in that category on their own papers.
  • 96. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 84 84 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 4.9 Cloze Exercise: Two Brothers and a Sister in Thailand DIRECTIONS: Some words are missing. In each blank, write the word that you think is missing. Mali, Niran, and Sunan live ___ Thailand. They live in ___ country with their mother and father. They all work on the farm. They ___ bananas and coconuts, and they keep chickens. The father catches ___, too. They are very happy on ___ farm. One day Mali goes out to the garden to see if ___ bananas are ready to pick. She sees two bunches of bananas that are ready to ___. So she calls Niran and Sunan to come and help her get the ___. Niran brings a ladder. He holds the ___ while Sunan climbs up and cuts down ___ bananas. Niran and Mali catch ___ bananas before they land on the ground. They get sticky banana juice all over them. And so does Sunan because he is in the trees. They carry the ___ to the shed, and then they go in ___ water to swim and wash off ___ sticky banana juice. Later that day, they eat dinner. Mother cooks ___ with cucumber and celery and fish. They put soy sauce and lime on the rice and fish. They drink tea. And they have a special dessert: ___ and rice cakes with coconut. This is the favorite food of Niran and Sunan. They eat so many ___ that they are too full! After dinner, Mali and Niran and Sunan walk by ___ water to watch ___ sun go down. They see monkeys in the trees and chase them away because they don’t want ___ to eat their bananas! They also see a blue kingfisher. That is Mali’s favorite bird. Niran and Sunan feel better after the walk. Then everyone goes to ___. Figure 4.10 Matching Exercise: Two Brothers and a Sister in Thailand DIRECTIONS: Write the number of each object next to the right word. 4 2 3 1 9 10 5 8 7 6 tea ____ lime ____ coconuts ____ soy sauce ____ monkey ____ bananas ____ celery ____ chickens ____ trees ____ rice ____
  • 97. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 85 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 85 Figure 4.11 Categorization Exercise: Two Brothers and a Sister in Thailand DIRECTIONS: Write each word from the list in the correct category. Food Animals People ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ mother Niran chickens kingfisher rice celery mother tea lime bananas father soy sauce fish Mali Sunan bird monkey coconuts cucumber cakes This example of group work shows how students can be given opportu- nities to develop as individuals while benefiting from their collaboration. All learned words from the same account, but each worked on a different set of words. All were engaged in the same activities, but they learned somewhat different things and worked at their own pace. The LEA procedures served as a framework within which considerable individualization occurred. OTHER LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES As advanced students’ reading and oral English skills improve, additional strategies may be used to increase fluency and build students’ listening, reading, speaking, and writing vocabularies. To illustrate the possibilities, we describe structured vocabulary building, storytelling, oral history proj- ects, the use of topical texts, and some specific comprehension-building activities. Most of these are best accomplished by having students work col- laboratively although they can be used with individual students if desired. Structured Vocabulary Building A useful technique at this point is a modification of the personalized vocabulary approach described in Chapter 2. This modification helps
  • 98. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 86 86 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners students extend their vocabularies beyond dictated accounts based on personal experience. Here are the steps: 1. Conduct a lesson to develop a concept or use a recent lesson. Possibilities include a science lesson on cloud formation, a mathe- matics lesson on proportions, a discussion of character development in a fictional narrative, or a history lesson about a specific concept (e.g., election of officials in a democratic society). Following the les- son, have students work in pairs and then as a whole class to gener- ate a list of words from the lesson. Help students, when necessary, by reminding them of concepts that were addressed. Accept any words the students offer; those that are most prominent in their minds will be the ones easiest for them to learn. They do not need to recall all of the most important words from the lesson. 2. Have students work in groups to categorize the words in ways that are logical to them. A miscellaneous category may be used if desired. Have groups share their efforts with one another. If possible, have the groups agree on a categorization scheme. They may choose one group’s scheme or may devise a new one as a whole group. Post the agreed-upon scheme near the original display of words. 3. Have the groups use the words in different ways. Each group can work with a different category, or all may work with all the cate- gories. Use one or more of these activities to help students learn the words and prepare to retain them: a. Have students make a word card for each of their words, then take turns displaying one card at a time to the rest of the group. The presenting group should pronounce the word, tell about the meaning, and use the word in a sentence. b. Have each group compose a picture dictionary page for each of their words. To do this, the group must discuss each word, agree on a definition, and decide how to illustrate the word. They may draw pictures or search for illustrations in old periodicals, and they may write their definitions or dictate them. Collect the pages from all the groups and make a classroom dictionary. Students can browse through this dictionary when they have time for independent reading. c. Ask students to compose an account using as many words in their collection as possible. The account may be written by the group or dictated. Groups can share their accounts with one another, taking turns reading them silently and aloud. Keep these accounts in folders in the classroom and use them for indepen- dent reading. d. Have students make up a matching exercise using the words in their collections. The groups must think of definitions for each
  • 99. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 87 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 87 word and organize them in one column, then list the words in a different order in another column. Groups can share these match- ing exercises with one another. If the groups prepare an answer key for their exercises, students can check their own work. 4. Once students have done one or more of the preceding activities, the class may create a dictated account that reflects the main points of the lesson. Because the students will have become familiar with the pro- nunciation and meaning of the key words, their account is likely to include many of them. Duplicate the account for each student for inde- pendent reading. Several of these dictations following a unit of study can help students review what they learned about the topic while they reinforce and extend their learning of specific content words. Storytelling Storytelling has been a feature of all cultures for thousands of years and is a highly engaging activity for both teller and listeners. In the class- room, storytelling engages advanced students with interesting explo- rations of language. They can increase their facility with English vocabulary and language patterns by learning to tell stories from their own cultures in English and by learning traditional tales from English- speaking cultures. Students can perform a story as individuals, pairs, or members of a group. Before engaging in storytelling, however, they should see and hear one or more storytellers to understand what an effective telling involves. You may wish to tell several stories yourself to illustrate for them, or you may use video presentations of professional storytellers as examples; Simmons (1999) and DeSpain (1994) are two examples of such a resource. Tips for storytellers have been in circulation for many years (Bryant, 1905; Nessel, 1985; Sauer, 1977; Sawyer, 1962). The usual procedure is to select a familiar story, read it several times to fix the sequence of events in mind, visualize the events in order, tell the story several times (with the book closed) to learn it, rehearse, and then tell the story as a performance. Each step provides excellent practice with English vocabulary and lan- guage patterns, and the repeated readings and tellings of the story develop students’ fluency. Materials from a variety of cultures are widely available in public and university libraries. The Web site for the National Storytelling Network may also be a good place to begin a search for resources: www.storynet.org. Oral History Projects Oral history projects involve interviewing residents of an area to learn what they have to say about the people, customs, and history of the place. The findings are shaped into written compositions, films, PowerPoint
  • 100. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 88 88 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners presentations, or other forms that are shared with the class and others. These projects were especially popular in the 1970s and 1980s, and the guidelines and examples that were published at that time are still useful today (Hartley & Shumway, 1973; Neuenschwander, 1976; Sitton, Mehaffy, & Davis, 1983; Wigginton, 1972). More recent uses of this approach indicate that it has retained its value for students, including ELLs (M. Hill, 2001; Lanman & Mehaffy, 1989; Olmedo, 1993, 2006; Whitman, 2000; Wood, 2001). Oral history projects are especially well suited for advanced students in an LEA program because they give learners a chance to practice their English in a realistic communication setting. In addition, most advanced students are eager to talk about the culture and history of the places where they grew up and will be interested in comparing and contrasting their original homes with the place in the United States to which they have moved. An oral history project may stem from any of these interview arrangements: 1. Students interview one another, focusing on elements of the cultures from which they came. 2. Students pair up with American-born students to learn about local history by interviewing long-time residents. 3. Students interview teachers at the school, especially those who have lived and taught in the area for some time, to learn about the history of the area and the school. 4. Students interview their parents or other family members to find out what they remember most vividly about their homeland. If students tape their interviews, they can play the tapes and discuss their findings in class. If they cannot record the actual interview, they can pair up soon after they complete their interviews to tell each other as much as they can remember. The information gleaned from the interviews can serve as the basis of dictated accounts that are bound in books for sharing or electronic documents, such as PowerPoint presentations. Photos or videos of the people interviewed can be part of the final products. Use of Topical Texts Cartoons, comic strips, and current Web sites or blogs can all be excel- lent sources of materials for other language activities. These topical texts make frequent use of idioms, colloquialisms, and other language struc- tures not found in formal textbooks. They also reveal aspects of American life and humor that can be instructive and entertaining for advanced students. Elkins and Bruggeman (1971) and Fowles (1970) present several ideas for using cartoons and comic strips. In addition, Web sites have useful suggestions for using comics and cartoons in the classroom. One
  • 101. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 89 Reading From Experience for Advanced Students 89 example is a teacher’s guide for using cartoons: www.cagle.com/teacher. The second example, sponsored by Newspapers in Education, is a collec- tion of cartoons that are suitable for classroom use: nieonline.com/niecftc/ cftc.cfm. Students may be asked to suggest their favorite Web sites or blogs that the class can view and discuss. Comprehension-Building Activities Because the dictated accounts are composed by the students, they are readily comprehended when read. They can also provide a means for students to deepen their comprehension when reading other-author texts. Skills such as identifying main ideas, recognizing significant details, and sequencing events can all be taught with the use of dictated accounts. Here are some suggestions: 1. To build students’ skill at identifying main ideas, give students copies of past dictated accounts without the titles. Have them read these and, in groups, think of alternate titles for each. To stretch their thinking, invite them to think of different titles to suit different pur- poses. For example, they might think of a catchy title to stimulate interest in reading the account, another title that conveys the main idea, and still another that focuses on a memorable detail. Provide examples for students if needed. For example, these alternate titles are all suitable for the dictation about Thailand shown in Figure 4.7: Adventures With Bananas A Day on a Farm in Thailand Too Many Cakes! 2. To strengthen students’ skill with sequential order, select an account with a clear sequence of events and have students put the events in chronological order. 3. To develop students’ skill at distinguishing between fact and opin- ion, have students read through old dictated accounts, underlining facts and opinions in different colors. In follow-up discussions, they can share their thinking and explain their reasoning. 4. To refine students’ skill at comparing and contrasting, have them work in pairs to compare their dictated accounts on the same topic. They might represent these comparisons and contrasts in a diagram or on a chart. 5. To build skill at organizing information, have students work with different accounts on the same topic. Direct them to cut apart the accounts and compose a new account, combining statements from the originals. To create an effective new account, they will have to
  • 102. 04-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 90 90 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners reorder details, delete repetitious statements, and decide on the best way to organize the ideas. 6. To deepen students’ listening comprehension, have students take turns reading their accounts to one another in small groups and ask- ing the listeners two or three questions about the content of the account. SUMMARY The reading abilities of advanced students are developed through dictated accounts that are revised, with teacher help, to conform to conventional English usage. Topics for discussion and dictation may stem from personal experiences, content area study, response to literature, interesting projects, and the use of a wide variety of texts, including cartoons, comic strips, and Web sites, but the emphasis is on topics that will help students increase their English vocabularies. The same basic plan for creating and using dic- tated accounts may be used for individual or group instruction. Students’ vocabulary and fluent use of English language patterns are expanded with a variety of classroom activities that support and extend the development of their reading skills. Lessons in word recognition and writing are also part of advanced students’ programs. These aspects of instruction are addressed in Chapters 5 and 6.
  • 103. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 91 5 Vocabulary and Word Recognition in an LEA Program V ocabulary and word recognition are integral components of an LEA program. Instruction in these areas is most effective when it relates closely to students’ work with dictated stories and other-author texts. To focus on basic principles for students at all levels of English proficiency, we have organized the information in this separate chapter, but we show throughout how the instruction is connected to the work with dictated accounts described in earlier chapters. VOCABULARY VERSUS WORD RECOGNITION Our vocabulary is the store of words we know. We actually have four kinds of vocabulary: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. These com- prise, respectively, the words we understand when we hear them, the words we understand when we see them, the words we use in speaking, and the words we use in writing. Ordinarily, our speaking and writing vocabularies are smaller than our listening and reading vocabularies; that is, we understand more words that we hear or read than we use when we speak and write (Kamil & Hiebert, 2005). In addition, the depth and extent of our knowledge of word meanings varies within and across individuals. 91
  • 104. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 92 92 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners For example, we may be able to define a word but not be sure of how to use it effectively in a sentence, or we may use a word but not feel confident that we fully understand its meaning. Furthermore, we invariably know some words that our friends and associates don’t know, and vice versa. Such variation in vocabulary is equally true within and across ELLs. In general, however, the larger the student’s English vocabulary, the better the student’s expressive skills and capacity to comprehend (Baumann, Kame’enui, & Ash, 2003). Word recognition refers specifically to identifying or decoding words while reading. Our skill in this area is related to but different from our vocabulary. One of three situations occurs when we look at a word: 1. We know the word and identify it immediately. 2. We know the word orally but do not recognize it in print. If we figure it out or hear someone say the word, we think “Oh! I know that word!” or “So that’s what that word looks like!” This situation is common in beginning readers of any age because their reading vocabularies are so much smaller than their listening and speaking vocabularies. Learning the word in this situation means learning to recognize it in print. 3. We don’t know the word at all. If we sound it out or hear someone say it, we still perceive the word to be unfamiliar. Learning the word in this situation means learning the meaning and pronunciation as well as learning to recognize the word in print. Students at all levels of English fluency need to increase their English vocabularies while becoming adept at identifying (decoding) words when they are reading. These two skill areas develop in tandem with one another and reinforce one another, but to examine them in depth, we con- sider them separately. BUILDING VOCABULARY The National Reading Panel (2000) reports several research-based princi- ples of vocabulary instruction for native speakers of English that are relevant for ELLs. First, students benefit from explicit instruction in vocab- ulary, especially when it is closely connected to their reading of texts con- taining the words. Next, students also learn words incidentally (e.g., by hearing words in conversation). In addition, when students see a word many times in different contexts, they are more likely to comprehend and remember it. Finally, active engagement in vocabulary learning yields the most effective results; activities requiring only minimal involvement and response are much less effective. In related research, Pavlenko and Driagina (2007) have found that the extent of “conceptual equivalency” also affects
  • 105. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 93 Vocabulary and Word Recognition in an LEA Program 93 vocabulary learning in a new language. For example, casa in Spanish and house in English are conceptually equivalent. In contrast, Russian does not have a word for frustration, so Russian-speaking ELLs may have more dif- ficulty understanding and using the word. We focus here on key strategies for incidental and intentional learning of vocabulary for ELLs and on how dictionaries can enhance word learn- ing. For more extensive discussions of vocabulary in general and for ELLs in particular, see Au (1993); Hiebert and Kamil (2005); Lehr, Osborn, and Hiebert (2003); Lightbown and Spada (2006); and Marzano (2004). Incidental Vocabulary Learning ELLs learn many words not because they are taught the words explic- itly but because they hear them in a variety of contexts. Reading aloud to students is one effective strategy for promoting incidental learning, especially when the texts include some words and phrases that stretch students’ thinking. Other strategies include talking to students informally about a variety of topics; giving students opportunities to hear and inter- act with native English speakers (e.g., peers, other teachers, guest speak- ers); and showing students videos or television programs featuring native English speakers. By engaging in such activities, ELLs will come to under- stand many words and will become familiar with others that they can mas- ter at a later time. Another form of incidental learning occurs when students infer the mean- ings of what they read by using the context. Understanding how to use con- text in this way increases students’ independence as readers and enables them to add many words to their vocabularies when they read. Tompkins (2003) identifies six context clues; a Web site devoted to study skills names a different set of six clues (www.how-to-study.com/Building%20Vocabulary .htm). Dale and O’Rourke (1971) and Roe, Stoodt, and Burns (1978), in classic works on vocabulary, list still others. Figure 5.1 contains examples of some types of clues mentioned in these different sources. What aids this form of incidental learning is to model for students how to use context, show them examples of the different kinds of context clues, and help them establish the habit of looking for such clues when they read. Context clues are also useful for identifying words that are orally familiar (but visually unfamiliar) to the student. Their use for this purpose is addressed in the section below on word-recognition strategies. Intentional Vocabulary Learning ELLs also learn words from explicit, intentional instruction. Marzano (2004) suggests eight research-supported principles of vocabulary instruc- tion that are relevant both for native speakers of English and ELLs. Students benefit from simple, clear explanations of meanings, from experi- encing new words repeatedly in different contexts, from talking about new
  • 106. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 94 94 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 5.1 Some Examples of Contexts That Provide Clues to Word Meaning Type of Context Clue Example Example Drums and cymbals are two examples of percussion instruments. Synonym/Antonym (Synonym) He was thoroughly surprised when he heard the news; in fact, he was positively gobsmacked. (Antonym) It was a steamy day, but rain in the evening made it cooler. Description It was a palatial dwelling with a grand entrance, eighteen bedrooms, and a dining room with a table large enough to seat forty people. Definition A wind tunnel is a machine used to control wind speeds for scientific experiments. Comparison/Contrast (Comparison) A sieve, like a filter, can strain liquids. (Contrast) In winter bears hibernate; in summer they are awake and moving about. Summary He knew his products well and could talk about them easily. He saw many customers and made many sales. He was a very capable salesman. words, and from using them in game-like activities. In addition, students profit from studying meaning-bearing roots and affixes and from repre- senting their understanding of words in drawing as well as writing. Finally, students learn best when instruction varies according to the types of words and involves words that are highly relevant to what they are studying. Marzano (2004) translates these principles into a recommended instructional approach. First, the teacher explains the meaning of the new word and has students say the meaning in their own words. Next, students represent the meaning in a drawing, a graphic, or some other nonverbal representation. To ensure retention, the teacher makes sure that students encounter the word frequently, talk about the word with each other, and engage in games that require use of the word. Here is an illustration of how one teacher applied this process with intermediate ELLs to teach the meaning of the word cargo, a key word in an upcoming lesson. Students were organized into pairs, and each had a vocabulary notebook containing work from past lessons. The teacher used illustrations obtained from books, magazines, and the Internet. Teacher: Cargo is something that’s carried from one point to another. Here’s a picture of cargo being loaded onto a ship. These con- tainers are called cargo containers. Here’s a picture of cargo on a train, and here’s one of people loading goods onto a truck.
  • 107. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 95 Vocabulary and Word Recognition in an LEA Program 95 The truck will carry the cargo to another town. Now it’s your turn. Talk to your partner about what cargo is. (Students talk briefly in pairs.) So, what is cargo? Say it in your own words, and use the word cargo. Student 1: What gets carried. Teacher: Please use the word. Student 1: Cargo is what gets carried. Student 2: They put cargo on boat and trucks. Student 3: Cargo is stuff people move. Student 1: Yes, people move cargo. That cargo is in boxes (pointing to the picture of people loading a truck). Student 2: I have cargo pants! Teacher: Why are they called cargo pants? Student 2: Because I carry stuff in them! In here (indicating the pockets on the pants). Student 3: You carry cargo in your pockets! Next, the teacher gave students two minutes to write cargo at the top of a new page in their notebooks and represent the meaning of the word pic- torially. Students worked individually on their sketches, then showed their partners their drawings. Four volunteers then showed their drawings to the whole group. To reinforce previous learning, the teacher asked each pair to team with another pair to relate the new word to others they had in their note- books. Groups were given five minutes to use cargo and other words in the same sentence, then volunteers shared their sentences. Next, each pair teamed with a new pair for further discussion. This time, each student chose a notebook word and talked about it to the other three for 30 sec- onds. This sustained, simultaneous talking provided more exposures to previously learned words as well as practice using the word cargo. Finally, students played a simple, fast-paced game. The teacher dis- played three previously taught words on the board and handed fly swat- ters to two volunteers who were to swat the correct word when hearing a teacher hint (e.g., definition, synonym, picture, incomplete sentence). The player who correctly swatted two of three words remained at the board for the next round of three words, while a new volunteer replaced the other player. A student could continue playing for up to three rounds, after which a new volunteer took that player’s place. With these rules, play pro- ceeded briskly and many students had a chance at the board. Those who watched played mentally, trying to identify the words silently more quickly than the swatters.
  • 108. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 96 96 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners The particular words that are the focus of intentional instruction should vary depending on students’ level of English proficiency and on the words that will be most useful and relevant to them, given their ages, interests, and academic work. For example, most beginners benefit from learning concrete words that are immediately useful in their daily lives, whereas advanced students benefit from learning words that relate to their content-area learning (Verhoeven, 1990). Using the Dictionary Students can use dictionaries, glossaries, and similar resources to learn word meanings. To use these tools skillfully, students must be familiar with their structures and functions and need practice using them. Also, they must have the resources available to them while they are reading and must acquire the habit of referring to them. For beginners, picture dictionaries are particularly useful in teaching the purpose and organization of a dictionary. As described in Chapter 2, students can create their own to record their personalized vocabularies. They can also use published picture dictionaries for additional word learn- ing and additional experience with dictionaries as references. Intermediate students benefit from using standard dictionaries as well as picture dictionaries. At first, teacher modeling is helpful, especially to those who have had little experience with dictionaries. The teacher can demonstrate how to look up a word familiar to students so that students can focus on the process. They can follow along in their own copies of the dictionary page, or the teacher can use an enlarged page for viewing by a group. After initial modeling, students can practice by looking up other familiar words in pairs or small groups. They will recognize these words quickly on the page and are likely to understand the definitions because they already know the meanings. With teacher guidance, they can read the entries, examine the illustrations, and discuss what they have learned. After practice with familiar words, students can begin to look up unfamil- iar words they encounter in their reading. Advanced students can continue using personalized picture dictionar- ies and standard dictionaries to look up words. In addition, they can cre- ate their own pronunciation keys (as described in the section below on phonetic analysis) for figuring out the pronunciation of unfamiliar words and can use them in conjunction with pronunciation keys in published dic- tionaries. They also benefit from learning to use guide words for homing in on a word quickly. Figure 5.2 shows two examples of activities that pro- vide students with practice in these skills. Students do not need to master all aspects of dictionaries to benefit from using them. They just need to be familiar enough with these tools so that they can consult them when needed and are frequently successful in finding and learning new words in them.
  • 109. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 97 Vocabulary and Word Recognition in an LEA Program 97 Figure 5.2 Two Dictionary Practice Activities Practice Activity 1. Pronunciation Practice Duplicate part of a dictionary pronunciation key along with sentences including words to be pronounced. The target words should be unfamiliar to students but should have regular sound–letter patterns. An example is the following: Read the sentences. Look at the words below and find the one that has the same vowel sound as the underlined word. Write your choice in the blank. 1. An old hat hung in the corner of the shed. (map, late, far) 2. After the old tree was cut down, birds never came to the park. (hot, now, rope) Practice Activity 2. Guide Word Race Divide students into teams. Display two guide words from a dictionary page and ten other words, some of which appear on that dictionary page and some that do not. Teams get a point for every word they correctly classify as on or not on the page. Students can check the dictionary themselves to tally their points. The difficulty level of the game can be modified by the ten words that are given. An example of one array of words that could be used is the following: Guide Words: black blame blast blade blacken action blackness blank bladder blab bite BUILDING SKILL IN WORD RECOGNITION When individuals learn to read, they learn some words as wholes, con- necting particular configurations of letters with words they know orally. They learn some words in this way because they encounter the words so often or the words are highly meaningful and memorable (e.g., their own names). Once a word is recognized consistently in all contexts, that word is said to be in the reader’s sight vocabulary or reading vocabulary. Individuals have different words in their sight vocabularies because of their different experiences as readers and because each finds some words easier to learn and remember than others. Chapters 2 through 4 outlined the way ELLs build their sight vocabularies with dictated accounts and
  • 110. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 98 98 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners related activities. These practices help students acquire a store of known words quickly and easily and also build students’ confidence with reading English. However, as students become comfortable reading English, they also need to learn strategies for figuring out unfamiliar words for them- selves so that they can become independent as readers. Accomplished readers identify unfamiliar words in various ways. They may use context clues, inferring words by using the surrounding words or illustrations. They may also use phonetic analysis (phonics) to sound out words. If the reader knows a word orally, sounding it out usually leads to recognition of the word. Readers may also use structural analysis, breaking words into recognizable syllables or roots and affixes that offer clues to pro- nunciation and meaning. If these strategies do not lead to the identification of the word, the reader needs outside help, either from another person or from a dictionary. Thus, the use of word-recognition strategies (to identify a word that is orally familiar) gives way to a focus on vocabulary when the unknown word is not in the reader’s listening or speaking vocabulary. The ultimate goal is to move through a text quickly, recognizing most words immediately, deftly applying combinations of strategies to identify unfa- miliar words, and pausing to learn word meanings as needed. Our purpose is not to discuss word-recognition instruction in depth but only to raise issues of particular concern for ELLs and to suggest strategies of particular use to these students. For further reading, these resources pro- vide more extensive discussions and more activities for students: Teacher Materials Cunningham, P. M. (2000). Phonics they use: Words for reading and writing (3rd ed.). New York: HarperCollins. Dahl, K., Scharer, P., Lawson, L., & Grogan, P. (2001). Rethinking phonics: Making the best teaching decisions. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Durkin, D. (1981). Strategies for identifying words. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Freeman, D. E., & Freeman, Y. S. (2004). Essential linguistics: What you need to know to teach reading, ESL, spelling, phonics, and grammar. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Heilman, A. (2005). Phonics in proper perspective (10th ed.). New York: Pearson Books. Pinnell, G. S., & Fountas, I. C. (1998). Word matters: Teaching phonics and spelling in the reading/writing classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Tompkins, G. (2003). Literacy for the 21st century (3rd ed.). New York: Merrill/Prentice Hall. Student Materials Anderson, N. J. (2003). Active skills for reading 1. Boston: Thomson Heinle. Bassano, S. (1994). First class reader! Integrated skills lessons for beginners. Burlingame, CA: Alta Books.
  • 111. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 99 Vocabulary and Word Recognition in an LEA Program 99 Blackwell, A., & Naber, T. (2003). English know how, opener. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Claire, E. (1990). ESL wonder workbooks. Burlingame, CA: Alta Books. Fountas, I. C., & Pinnell, G. (2006). Phonics and word study lessons, K–3. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Hemmert, A., & Kappra, R. (2004). Out and about: An interactive course in beginning English. Burlingame, CA: Alta Books. Walker, M. (1996). Amazing English! An integrated ESL curriculum. New York: Addison-Wesley. Prerequisites for Learning Word-Recognition Strategies To learn word-recognition strategies, students need certain language skills as prerequisites. These are related to the language capacities learners have developed along with the backgrounds of experience they bring to the reading of any text. To figure out a visually unfamiliar (orally familiar) English word by using context clues, readers must tap two stores of knowledge: (a) their understanding of the surrounding words (semantics), which involves knowledge of specific denotations of words and relevant personal experi- ence with the topic; and (b) their understanding of the structure of English (syntax). Semantic and syntactic knowledge together lead the reader to infer the identity of the unfamiliar word. Goodman (1967) pointed to these two kinds of knowledge as critical elements of the reading process, a process that requires astute inferential thinking. For example, you can probably use context to identify the word that is missing in this sentence: Ned, thirsty after a long walk in the hot sun, took a glass from the kitchen shelf, went to the sink, and filled it with cold ___ from the tap. No doubt, you filled in the blank with water without hesitation. Your almost automatic response was based on your ability to use your semantic knowledge (the meanings of the other words in the sentence and your expe- rience with getting water from taps) to understand what Ned was doing and to infer that water is the missing word. The greater a reader’s English vocabulary and background of text-relevant experience, and the greater the reader’s understanding of English syntax, the more effectively the reader will be able to make use of context when reading English. However, even the youngest beginning readers of their native language will be able to use their semantic and syntactic knowledge to identify a visually unfamiliar word by thinking about what word would make sense at that point in the sentence. ELLs, even if they have limited knowledge of English vocabulary and syntax and perhaps limited relevant experience, have considerable capacity to use their inferential thinking abilities and thus will be able to use context clues when reading English. The more fluent they are with English and the more closely their experiences relate to the topic, the more effec- tively they will make use of this word-recognition strategy.
  • 112. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 100 100 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners To figure out a visually unfamiliar English word by using phonetic analysis, readers must be able to hear the speech sounds of the language, discriminate the sounds from one another auditorily, match letters with the sounds they represent, and pronounce the sounds with reasonable accuracy. They also need to blend individual sounds to approximate a word’s pronunciation. The greater the learners’ skill at hearing, discrimi- nating, and pronouncing English phonemes, the more effectively they will be able to make use of phonetic analysis. To figure out a visually unfamiliar, multisyllabic English word by using structural analysis, readers must understand the root word and any affixes (prefixes or suffixes) the word may contain. They are more likely to be successful if they also have a good understanding of the rules of English syllabication so that they can readily break the word into its parts for examination. In addition, they need to be able to blend the parts into the whole. The greater the learners’ understanding of syllabication principles and the meanings of common root words and affixes, the more effectively they will use structural analysis. Figure 5.3 summarizes the prerequisites associated with each word- recognition strategy, both for those whose native language is English and Figure 5.3 Prerequisites for Learning Word-Recognition Strategies Strategy for Identifying an Unfamiliar English Word Prerequisites Use of context clues • Identify and understand the surrounding words (semantic knowledge) • Understand the structure of the sentence (syntactical knowledge) • Be able to make an inference about the unknown word, given the relevant semantic and syntactical information Use of phonetic analysis • Discriminate the sounds of the English language from one another auditorily • Understand sound–letter relationships in written English • Blend the individual sounds in a word into a recognizable whole Use of structural analysis • Know basic principles of English syllabication • Know a wide array of English roots and affixes, including their pronunciation and meaning • Blend the identified parts of a word into a recognizable whole Use of outside sources • Understand the structure and function of the relevant (e.g., glossary, dictionary, reference material and other such reference • Have experience using the reference material materials) • Take the initiative to use the reference to find and learn about the unfamiliar word
  • 113. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 101 Vocabulary and Word Recognition in an LEA Program 101 for those who are learning English. All ELLs will have difficulties with some, if not all, of these prerequisites. Although native English speakers have rich backgrounds of English language experiences and well-developed English language skills to use in acquiring word-recognition skills, most ELLs are still acquiring these expe- riences and skills. ELLs may have many language strengths, but they may not have some of the specific language skills they need to make the most effective use of the various word-recognition strategies for figuring out English words. Their instruction in word recognition thus needs to be somewhat different from that designed for their English-speaking class- mates. It should be geared to their specific strengths and sensitive to what- ever limitations they may still have. Word-Recognition Instruction for ELLs ELLs benefit from regular and balanced instruction in all the word- recognition strategies. It is as important for them to learn to make good use of context clues as it is for them to master English sound–letter associa- tions and knowledge of the structural elements of words. Instruction in the various strategies is most effective when words and sentences in lessons are taken from familiar texts. Also, practice exercises are most useful when they are related to the reading of familiar texts. Using Context Clues As mentioned above, readers can use the context to determine the meaning of words that they know orally but have not seen in print. Using context, a reader can use the other words in the text to reduce uncertainty about the unfamiliar word and possibly figure it out without having to use other word-recognition strategies. To illustrate, notice how you use the context to figure out the meaning of the word replaced by a blank: a ___ A ___ flies. A ___ flies in the air and carries passengers. The initial context allows you to conclude that the word is a noun and that it could be kite, bird, or plane, among other possibilities. You are almost certain it’s not tree, house, or other things that do not fly, and you know it’s not airplane because the preceding article is “a,” signaling that the word begins with a consonant. The full sentence context allows you to settle on plane, helicopter, or some other airborne passenger carrier. To be certain, you would need to see the actual word in print so as to note the particular letter combination, but without seeing even one letter, you have made good progress in identifying the word.
  • 114. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 102 102 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Unique considerations arise in teaching ELLs to use context clues in English. First, effective use of context in any language stems from the reader’s experience with that language and culture. For example, refer- ences to Thanksgiving turkey, Fourth of July fireworks, and other typically American cultural phenomena may not be part of ELLs’ backgrounds and therefore will not provide useful contexts. For readers to make use of their background knowledge, they not only must have had experiences that are relevant to what they are learning but also must have comprehended those experiences and be able to see their relevance to what they are learning (Marzano, 2004; Saville-Troike, 1976). ELLs strengthen their skill at using context as they become more fluent in English, increase their listening vocabularies, have more meaningful experiences with American culture, and read more widely. In addition, they gain skill in using context when their classroom instruction focuses on reading for meaning. Explicit instruction in the use of context clues is also very helpful for these students. Here are some instructional strategies for the three types of students described in earlier chapters. Instruction in Context Clues for Beginners. Instruction for beginners is most effective when it helps them develop skill at using oral contexts. As they refine their understanding of English, they develop an ever-growing sense of what sounds right orally, and this kind of oral sentence sense is the foundation for using context clues when reading. These activities serve this purpose: 1. Engage students in regular informal conversations on a variety of subjects. ELLs assimilate common syntactical patterns when they hear them repeatedly. 2. Read students a poem or another text with a refrain. Then read the first part and have students say the refrain orally. 3. Teach students a song and sing it with them several times. Then say or sing the first part and have students say or sing the rest. 4. Play missing word games in which you pause in saying a statement and have students supply the next word(s) orally. Use familiar state- ments, such as statements from dictated accounts or oft-read other- author texts, to increase the chance of success. Instruction in Context Clues for Intermediate Students. Intermediate students benefit from the activities suggested for beginners. In addition, these activities provide specific practice in using context clues when reading: 1. Give students a copy of a dictated account in which a few words have been replaced with blanks. Have students read the account silently to
  • 115. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 103 Vocabulary and Word Recognition in an LEA Program 103 figure out what the missing words are, either writing them in the blanks or saying them aloud. Provide the answers in scrambled order at the bottom of the page to make the task easier. This modification of the cloze procedure differs from that described in Chapter 4 in that the words are not deleted in a regular pattern (e.g., every fifth word). Figure 5.4 shows an example that is based on a dictation from Chapter 3. Figure 5.4 A Modified Cloze Activity Based on a Dictated Account Hung saw a fire ___ in the street. Engine made a loud noise. A police ___ was after the fire engine. We see birds and squirrel. 2. Create sentences or short passages for students that contain words students have used in dictated accounts. Include one or two words you think students probably will not recognize visually but that are familiar orally. Have students work together to read the passages and figure out the unknown words. Figure 5.5 shows an example with sentences that are based on the dictated accounts shown in Figures 3.1 and 4.1. The unfamiliar words are in boldface so that they will stand out. (Some of the other words that are not in the orig- inal accounts were familiar to the students because they appeared in subsequent dictations.) Figure 5.5 Teacher-Created Texts With Familiar and Unfamiliar Words Hung saw birds in a tree. A police car made a loud noise, and the noise scared Hung. My friends swam at the beach. The water was not cold. It was warm. They looked for shells. The ocean was blue. 3. As students reread dictated accounts and come to words that are not yet in their sight vocabularies, show them how to skip the word and read on so that they will see how reading further often enables them to identify unknown words. To model, rewrite a simple text, replac- ing one or two words with blanks. Have students read along with you and listen as you think aloud, explaining how you can figure out the words that have been deleted. For example, here is the text one teacher used for this purpose and the teacher’s think-aloud: It was Friday night, and my friends and I were on our way to see a movie. When we got to the ___, we saw a line of people in front. The line was
  • 116. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 104 104 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners so long, we thought we would never get seats! We waited for almost an hour, but finally we got to the front of the line and could buy ___. It was a great movie, and we even had good seats! Teacher: It was Friday night, and my friends and I were on our way to see a movie. When we got to the ___ . . . Hmm. What’s this word? I’m going to skip it for now and keep reading. . . . We saw a line of people in front. Let’s see. They got to where they were going, and they saw a line of people. That missing word is prob- ably theater because that’s where you go to see a movie, and when the movie is popular, people line up at the front door. Now I’ll go on. The line was so long, we thought we would never get seats! We waited for almost an hour, but finally we got to the front of the line and could buy ___. Hmm. What would they be buying after they waited in line? Of course! They would have to buy tickets so they could get in to see the movie. That word has to be tickets. I’m going to read on. It was a great movie, and we even had good seats! Yes, that word must be tickets because at the end it says they got in to see the movie. Such think-alouds are useful demonstrations, especially because you are demonstrating that readers need to think as they read, paying attention not just to the individual words but also to the overall meaning of the text. Instruction in Context Clues for Advanced Students. Advanced students can benefit from the activities suggested for beginners and intermediate students. Here are some additional suggestions: 1. Give students a copy of a familiar other-author text with blanks replacing several words. Have students work together to figure out which words have been omitted. To make the task easier, provide the answers in scrambled order at the bottom of the page. When they have finished, have them explain the reasoning that led to their decisions. 2. As students read other-author texts, have them note words that they didn’t recognize and tried to figure out using context clues. Have them share the words they focused on and the reasoning they used in trying to figure them out. Using Structural Analysis Structural analysis (dividing words into parts) is another valuable word-recognition strategy. The key aspect of structural analysis—syllable identification—requires the learner to hear the syllables in spoken English,
  • 117. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 105 Vocabulary and Word Recognition in an LEA Program 105 and this may pose challenges to ELLs in the same way that discriminating the sounds of English poses challenges to many. A second aspect of struc- tural analysis, dividing words into roots and affixes, may be more useful to ELLs because this strategy can increase the student’s vocabulary considerably. For example, when they learn the meanings of such prefixes as pre, inter, and trans, they can use this information to figure out words containing these parts. Structural analysis can be taught with a guided discovery approach that invites students to think inductively. Teacher questions help the student discover patterns in the known words and generalize the relevant rule. For example, students can look for patterns in groups of words such as these, prompted by teacher questions such as: What are the root words? How are the endings added? What is the pattern? hitting sitting running happier easier funnier This inductive approach is effective because the emphasis is on per- ceiving patterns and making generalizations, not simply on memorizing rules that may not be meaningful or memorable. The priority is to help ELLs learn enough about syllables, roots, and affixes so that they can use the knowledge to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar multisyllable words. They do not necessarily need to learn extensive lists of syllabication principles or the meanings of a great number of roots and affixes. Beginners need to build oral awareness of syllables and accents. Much of this learning will occur naturally as students become familiar with English and refine their pronunciation. Specific practice may also be given. For example, present orally several multisyllable words that are familiar to students. Tell them how many syllables each word has and illustrate by clapping the separate syllables as you say them. Have students repeat the word, listening for the number of syllables. After practice with several words, say other multisyllable words without clapping and have students tell how many syllables they hear. Intermediate students can learn about syllables by studying the words they use in their dictated accounts. Here are some suggested activities: 1. Give students cards on which have been printed separate parts of familiar compound words. Have them put the cards together to make the words. To make the exercise easier, cut the cards like puzzle pieces.
  • 118. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 106 106 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners 2. Find singular and plural forms in students’ dictated account. Have them look for patterns in how the plurals are formed from the sin- gulars. Then show unknown plural forms of words that are familiar to students in their singular forms. Have students match these new words to the singular forms, pronounce the plurals, and discuss the patterns they perceive in plural formation. 3. Show students several words from dictated accounts that follow a particular syllabication pattern. Show them how the words are divided into syllables and have them figure out the rules that govern the divisions. Advanced students can apply syllabication rules to figure out unknown words in each other’s dictated accounts and other-author read- ing materials. Show them how to divide the words into syllables, then sound out the syllables. These students may also learn to apply knowledge of roots and affixes to figure out unknown words that contain these elements. Here are some suggested activities: 1. Compile a list of words containing a common root or affix, such as tele- (television, telephone). Choose words from dictated accounts or other-author reading materials. Discuss the meaning of the element, showing how it affects the meaning of the words on the list. 2. When students have learned a root or an affix, compile a new list of words that use the element. For example, if students have learned tele- in television and telephone, introduce telegraph and teleprompter. Put these new words in sentences and have students use context clues and knowledge of the element’s meaning to figure out the new words. Using Phonetic Analysis Learning the sounds of English is as important for ELLs as it is for native English readers. When this instruction is purely oral, involving students’ listening for specific sounds or discriminating one sound from another, the focus is said to be on phonemic awareness. When the instruc- tion involves learning and manipulating letter-sound associations, the focus is said to be on phonetic analysis or phonics. Phonics is of particular value to students for figuring out words they know orally but do not rec- ognize in print. Using phonetic analysis to pronounce such a word can eas- ily lead to recognition. At the same time, this area of instruction is laden with challenges. To learn sound–letter associations, a learner must first be able to discriminate sounds aurally and then associate those sounds with the letters that represent them. Lack of experience with English makes it more challenging for ELLs to recognize, discriminate, and use some English phonemes in speech. This inability, in turn, can make it difficult for
  • 119. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 107 Vocabulary and Word Recognition in an LEA Program 107 the student to sound out many English words in print in ways that will lead them to recognize the words. Each ELL has unique challenges in mastering the sounds of English, as indicated in Chapter 1. Not all students from a particular linguistic group will have exactly the same challenges with English because their previous experiences and opportunities to hear and use English will vary. Knowing the sounds that are most difficult for the student to hear, discriminate, and pronounce will come from an understanding of the student’s native lan- guage as it compares with English and also from observing the student’s pronunciation of English. Fortunately, as Krashen (2003b) points out, learners’ ability to discriminate and manipulate the sounds of a language with a high degree of accuracy has not been shown to be a prerequisite to learning to read the language with good comprehension. Conversely, read- ers can process and comprehend written language while not being partic- ularly skillful in discriminating and manipulating all the sounds of the language. Because of the challenges associated with learning new phonemes, instruction in phonetic analysis for ELLs is best carried out with reference to whole, known words as opposed to isolated sounds. Because the goal is to help students associate letters with the sounds they represent, the use of known words enables students to learn the associations in meaningful contexts, and that increases the students’ chances for success. Emphasis is best placed first on words containing sounds that students can discrimi- nate auditorily and use easily in speech. Students can learn the more chal- lenging sound–letter associations after they have gained confidence with those in the first category. When planning phonemic awareness and phonetic analysis activities, it is useful to be aware of the nature of the activities and thus the demands they place on students. These activities fall into four basic categories in terms of the stimulus and response that are involved. In each case, the stim- ulus (what the teacher presents) may be visual or oral, and the student’s response may involve marking, writing, or speaking. The stimulus and the response are thus either visual or oral. Here are examples of each: 1. Oral-Oral. Both the stimulus and the response are oral. For example, Teacher: Do cat and city start with the same sound? Student: No. Teacher: Do cat and kitty start with the same sound? Student: Yes. 2. Oral-Visual. The stimulus is oral; the student selects or produces a response in written form. For example, Teacher: Write a word that starts with the same sound as cat. Student: (Writes kite or car.)
  • 120. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 108 108 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners 3. Visual-Oral. The stimulus is written; the student response is oral. For example, Teacher: Look at these words (city, sit, kite). Which ones start with the same sound? Student: City and sit. 4. Visual-Visual. Both stimulus and response are in print. For example, Teacher: Look at this word (cat). Write a word that starts with the same sound. Student: (Writes kite.) Activities may also be categorized on a second dimension: whether the response requires the student simply to choose an answer from a provided array or to produce an answer independently. Usually, activities that allow selection from provided choices are easier than activities requiring pro- duction of a response. For example, this activity requires choice: Mark the word that starts with the same sound as cat. book door keep man This activity requires the student to produce a response: Write a word that begins with the same sound as cat. __________ Here are examples of choice and production activities that help students learn sound–letter associations. Each activity is designed to develop awareness of the sounds at the beginnings of words and can be adapted for work with sounds that occur at the ends of words or in medial positions. 1. Choice Activities a. Oral-Oral. Compile pairs of words that are orally familiar to students. In some pairs, beginning sounds should be the same (book/bat); in other pairs, these sounds should be different (best/car). Say each pair to students and have them say whether or not the words begin with the same sound. b. Oral-Visual. Compile a list of words that are orally familiar to students. Give students cards with different words that begin
  • 121. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 109 Vocabulary and Word Recognition in an LEA Program 109 with the same sounds as the words on the list. These words should be visually familiar to students. Pronounce the list words one at a time and have students select words from their cards that begin with the same sounds. c. Visual-Visual. Display several words that are familiar to students. Have them look through their Word Banks for words that begin with the same sounds. d. Visual-Oral. Display several words that are familiar to students. Have students read aloud the ones that begin with the same sound. 2. Production Activities a. Oral-Oral. Compile a list of words that are orally familiar to students. Say these one at a time and have students think of and say a word that starts with the same sound. Reinforce correct responses by having students say both words again, listening for the same sound at the beginning. b. Oral-Visual. Compile a list of words that are orally familiar to students. Say these one at a time and each time have students think of and write a word that begins with the same sound. c. Visual-Oral. Display several words that are familiar to students. Have them think of and say other words that begin with the same sounds. d. Visual-Visual. Display several words that are familiar to students. Have them think of and write words that begin with the same sounds. Choice and production activities can be used with beginning, interme- diate, and advanced students, but at each level, certain emphases will be more important than others. The priorities for beginners are to see highly meaningful words written in English. As students develop fluency and recognize some words in print, they can learn to recognize and discrimi- nate those English sounds that occur in their native language. They fare best if they hear the sounds in the context of whole words instead of as iso- lated phonemes (/b/ or /k/). Sounds pronounced in words are not dis- torted as they are when pronounced in isolation (buh, kuh). Students also fare best when familiar words are used for this instruction, such as words that have appeared in the students’ dictated accounts. Intermediate students, like beginners, fare best when they focus on sounds in the con- texts of words they recognize in written form. Some sounds that do not occur in their native languages may be introduced while the emphasis is placed on learning sound–letter associations for sounds that are already familiar to the students. Advanced students profit from a greater number and variety of phonetic analysis activities. As they demonstrate mastery of a number of sound–letter associations, they will be able to work with more sounds that do not occur in the student’s native language. They may not be able to pronounce these sounds accurately at first. In fact, it may take
  • 122. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 110 110 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners some students years to master a speech sound that does not occur in their native language. However, they can learn to recognize those sounds when they hear them and can learn the letters that represent those sounds. Students also benefit from learning to use pronunciation keys such as those that appear in dictionaries. The most useful key for most students is one that uses familiar words from their dictated accounts to illustrate sounds. When students encounter unfamiliar words in print and are not sure how to sound them out, they can turn to their pronunciation keys and find familiar words that illustrate the sounds in the unfamiliar words. Because of the great variety of letters that represent English vowels, a pro- nunciation key is particularly useful as a reference for vowel sounds. Students can develop these keys gradually as they work with different sound–letter associations and use words in their dictated accounts that contain the sounds they are learning. As students become adept at hearing English sounds and at under- standing sound–letter relationships, they need opportunities to put the knowledge to use in sounding out unfamiliar words when reading. Just as they need to acquire the habit of using context clues to identify unfamiliar words, they also need to acquire the habit of analyzing words phonetically. In fact, flexible use of these two strategies together makes for particularly effective and efficient identification of unfamiliar words. To encourage students to use both skills together, give them teacher-written passages (or short passages from easy-to-read books) from which some words have been replaced with a few letters of those words. For example, Yesterday I took my d__g for a walk. We walked and walked, and then we came h__m__. We had a good t_________. Have students read the passages silently and, using the letter and con- text clues, figure out the missing words. Use passages with known words and clear context clues to promote success. Also, remind students regu- larly to use context and phonics together when they are attempting to iden- tify unfamiliar words. A BALANCED APPROACH TO VOCABULARY AND WORD RECOGNITION Effective instruction in vocabulary and word recognition provides a bal- ance of activities that help students increase their vocabularies while also learning to decode visually unfamiliar words. Students should be guided to use context, structure, and phonics in conjunction with one another. For example, they should see that dividing a word into syllables makes it eas- ier to analyze phonetically and that the sentence (or paragraph) context may also help them determine the pronunciation and meaning. When they
  • 123. 05-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/22/2008 2:49 PM Page 111 Vocabulary and Word Recognition in an LEA Program 111 learn the meaning of a new word through explicit instruction, they should have opportunities to talk about the word and see it in other contexts so that they will remember it. Isolated exercises in these areas are not particularly useful. Rather, students need to build their vocabularies and learn word-recognition strate- gies within the meaningful contexts of their own dictated accounts, familiar other-author texts, and more challenging other-author texts. Also, explicit instruction will be more productive if students are given a variety of activi- ties and exercises to help them retain and use what they learn. By trying dif- ferent activities and noting student response and progress, the program can be modified to provide the best combination of lessons. Ideally, instruction in word meaning and word-recognition strategies will occupy only some of the instructional time, leaving the rest of the time for activities that focus on comprehension of connected discourse and on writing. To illustrate the balance that is inherent in an LEA program, Figure 7.1 (in Chapter 7) shows sample instructional plans for three consecutive days that incorporate vocabulary and word-recognition activities into a com- plete program that also includes dictated accounts and writing. SUMMARY Students need to build their vocabularies while they learn a repertoire of word-recognition strategies for use when reading. Effective vocabulary activities focus on both incidental learning and intentional learning and on active engagement in talking about and representing word meanings. In addition, students learn to use dictionaries as a tool for increasing their vocabularies. Word-recognition instruction focuses on the use of context clues, structural analysis, and phonetic analysis. Lessons in vocabulary and word recognition are most effective when they are coordinated with the basic program of discussion and dictation, when they tie in directly with the words and sentences students use in their dictation, and when they make use of a variety of other-author texts. Finally, students need many opportunities to practice what they have learned in new contexts.
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  • 125. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 113 6 Writing in an LEA Program A s with vocabulary and word-recognition instruction, we devote a separate chapter to writing because the basic principles are relevant to students at all levels of English fluency. After discussing these princi- ples, we show how writing instruction can proceed effectively for begin- ning, intermediate, and advanced students. WRITING AS A LANGUAGE PROCESS Writing is comparable to reading in that it is a process involving written language, as shown in Figure 6.1. Some educators maintain that writing is easier and more appealing to learners than reading and that students should write before they read. Others maintain that because reading is eas- ier, students should learn to read first and take up writing only after they know some words and have command of sound–letter associations. Actual observation of learners suggests that writing is more challenging than read- ing in some respects and easier in others, both for ELLs and for those work- ing in their native language. For example, when writing involves generating ideas and making decisions about what to say, it can require more concentration than does the act of reading. Encoding the language and holding an implement can also be difficult for some. For these reasons, writing can be more challenging than reading. On the other hand, the active nature of writing and the chance to express one’s thoughts may help a 113
  • 126. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 114 114 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 6.1 Two Dimensions of the Four Language Processes Expressive Language Receptive Language Process Process Oral Language Speaking Listening Written Language Writing Reading student sustain attention to writing more easily than to reading. Writing can also be easier than reading because writers have purposes and use known (usually very familiar) words in forming statements. In contrast, readers are not necessarily aware of a writer’s purpose and may not know all the words the writer has used. Writing can also seem more engaging than reading to some individuals because communicating one’s own thoughts and feelings can be more motivating than learning the thoughts and feelings that some- one else has written down. Exceptions occur when the written message is directed to the reader and is of great interest to the reader. For example, love letters are usually read with great motivation and attention. Individuals are likely to have different perceptions about the ease of specific writing and reading tasks, depending on their backgrounds, their interests, and the context within which they are working. For example, students who love stories may find personal narratives much easier to write than reports, whereas students who enjoy informational texts may find reports much easier and more enjoyable to write than personal narra- tives. Similarly, students with limited knowledge of American history may find it challenging to write about pioneer travels in America from the assumed perspective of a pioneer but may find it easy and enjoyable to assume the perspective of someone from their native culture. Perceptions of ease or difficulty will also change with time and context. Students may perceive the same activity to be easier on some days or in some contexts and more challenging at other times. For all these reasons, writing cannot be considered easier or harder than reading in an absolute sense and thus need not be thought of as either a precursor or a successor to reading. A more useful perspective is to con- sider writing and reading as different aspects of the same process that develop in tandem, an assertion that Squire (1983) put forth in his seminal article and on which others have elaborated (Au, 1993; Y. S. Freeman & Freeman, 2006; Samway, 2006). The basic principles remain relevant for today’s ELLs: • Both reading and writing involve the use of language and cognition. (Both are thinking processes that use language as a means for thinking. Also, what strengthens reading skills tends to strengthen writing skills, and vice versa.)
  • 127. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 115 Writing in an LEA Program 115 • Expressing the ideas in a text is a critical way of developing compre- hension of the text. (Writing, speaking, and drawing are all forms of expression that, when used in conjunction with reading, help the reader focus on meaning.) • Effective application of the skills of reading and writing is depen- dent on the context in which they are being used. (Readers and writers need to learn specialized skills and strategies for different contexts; e.g., narrative fiction, mathematical texts, historical accounts, or scientific documents.) • Understanding the forms and patterns that language can take enhances learners’ skill at comprehending and composing texts. (Analyzing the structure of a text can inform students’ own attempts at writing the same kind of text; writing a text with a specific structure refines comprehension of other texts with a similar structure.) • The focus of instruction in reading and writing should be on making meaning. (The primary focus of readers should be on using a text to construct meaning; the primary focus of writers should be on presenting their ideas to be meaningful to the intended audience.) • The learner’s existing knowledge has a powerful effect on the extent and quality of the learner’s comprehending and composing. (Readers rely on their experience to interpret and comprehend texts; writers rely on their experience to shape the structure and content of a composition.) For these reasons, writing and reading are best taught in close conjunc- tion with one another. The LEA procedures described in preceding chap- ters illustrate how the relationship can be used to advantage when helping ELLs learn to read. Other instructional strategies can also be used to make the most of this close relationship. For example, students benefit from using nonlinguistic representations to organize their thoughts before they write and to recode information they read, thus improving their compre- hension (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001). Mind Maps (Buzan & Buzan, 1993) and Thinking Maps (Hyerle, 1995) are two specific examples of tools that are particularly useful for students as both composition and comprehension aids. Graphic aids like these are recognized as especially helpful to ELLs (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2005, pp. 23–26). Writing is related to speaking in that it is an expressive language process; together, they contrast with the receptive language processes of listening and reading (see Figure 6.1). As an expressive process, writing is more challenging than speaking in some respects and easier in others, both for ELLs and for those communicating in their native language. For example, what can be spoken requires more effort and time to express in
  • 128. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 116 116 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners writing. Besides deciding what to write and formulating the utterances, a writer must think about spelling and punctuation. Also, whereas a speaker can use gestures and facial expressions as well as words to convey meaning, a writer must rely on word choice, syntax, and punctuation. Furthermore, a speaker gets immediate feedback from listeners and can adjust accord- ingly, but a writer expresses meanings to unseen and possibly unknown audiences. On the other hand, a writer can revise the communication to make it as effective as possible. For this reason, many find writing easier or more desirable than speaking. In school, for example, many students prefer writing a composition to presenting the same ideas orally in front of the class. These generalizations about the relative difficulty of writing and speaking do not hold true at all times or for all learners. Learners may perceive a specific writing activity to be easier or more challenging than a specific speaking activity, or vice versa, or they may perceive the same activity to be easier on some days or in some contexts and more challenging at other times. PURPOSE, AUDIENCE, AND FORM Considering writing as an expressive process—closely related to speaking— yields other realizations. In particular, both oral and written expressions have three important dimensions: purpose, audience, and form (Samway, 2006). First, a speaker’s or writer’s purpose may be immediate and practical, such as writing a shopping list or engaging in a conversa- tion with a friend. On the other hand, the speaker or writer may use language to represent experience in an artful way, such as composing a poem about a memorable experience or telling a joke effectively. Second, a speaker or writer has an audience. Writers may write for themselves in private journals, and speakers are their own audience when they rehearse in front of a mirror or try out different approaches before engag- ing in a potentially difficult conversation. At other times, writers or speakers may have a wide audience, as when they publish a book or give a presentation to a large group. Third, spoken and written communica- tions have specific forms. Persuasive pieces, poems, anecdotes, and busi- ness communications are only a few of the forms speakers or writers may use. Figure 6.2 shows these dimensions of the expressive use of language with a vertical continuum of purpose (from immediate, practical pur- poses to reflective, artful purposes) that is combined with a horizontal continuum of audience (from fully private writing-for-oneself to fully public writing-for-audience). These crossing continua form a framework within which a wide variety of expressive forms can be categorized. For the seminal thinking on which this scheme is based, see Atwell (1998), Blau (1987), Britton (1970), Calkins (1994), Elbow (1973), and Moffett (1968, 1981).
  • 129. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 117 Writing in an LEA Program 117 Figure 6.2 A Framework for Oral and Written Expression Immediate, practical purposes grocery lists memos conversations class discussions instant messages talk shows text messages jokes telephone calls announcements diaries business meetings rehearsals of a speech online forums Audience: A B Audience: Private C D Public freewritings stories, novels learning logs essays, reports mental dialogues speeches, memoirs observational notes saturation reports rehearsals of a play I-Search reports plays, poetry business letters blogs Reflective, artful purposes Quadrant D includes spoken or written expressions that are intended for sharing with a public and are more reflective and artful than casual communications. That is, the individual usually engages in planning, revising, and editing the communication. In school settings, these are the forms of speech and writing that students typically receive as assignments with the expectation that the finished product will be organized effectively and will reflect conventional language usage. The possible exception here is the blog, which is an interesting hybrid form of public and private expression. Although blogs are created as personal collections of musings, photos, and links to other Web sites, they are available to the world. (Some teen bloggers realize, suddenly and anxiously, that their parents can access what they thought of as their private blogs.) The chance to create a per- sonal Web site open to everyone is attractive to many young people today, including ELLs. The other purposes for using language, and the other dimensions of audience—represented by quadrants A, B, and C—are for the most part overlooked in school and yet are manifested in many forms of expression that can be used as classroom activities. Many of these forms are particu- larly well suited to ELLs because they encourage more varied uses of lan- guage than typical school assignments. Students benefit from regular and frequent opportunities to speak and write in a variety of forms, aimed at
  • 130. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 118 118 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners different audiences, and driven by different purposes. Such variety is interesting and gives students a chance to discover unexpected areas of strength in their use of English. For example, students who are asked to write only reports or personal narratives may not discover their strengths in keeping a journal, telling jokes, writing poetry, or contributing to an online forum. THE COMPOSING PROCESS For some years, teachers have thought of writing as a process that involves five components: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. A summary of these as they relate to ELLs will provide a context for the suggestions that follow. Whereas it is useful to think about each separately, writing is usually a recursive process, not a linear one. In other words, revising may lead to additional rethinking and prewriting that in turn results in a new round of drafting, and writers may revise and edit several times before deciding to share their work in public. Prewriting Prewriting involves collecting, articulating, and organizing thoughts before putting them on paper. A prewriting activity is comparable to dis- cussion before dictation: Both orient and prepare students for expressing their thoughts in English. Here are four examples: 1. Guided listening. Students listen for certain kinds of language when a selection is read or told (e.g., all the words the author uses to describe a snow storm). They then compare notes on what they heard and discuss the effectiveness of the author’s choices (Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007; Tompkins, 2003). 2. Guided imagining. Students generate mental pictures and associated words in response to prompts. For example, the teacher may say: You are walking along a path. Think about how the path looks. How wide is it? Is it rough or smooth? Where is it going? What can you see in the distance? Students share their imaginings, expressing the thoughts and feelings evoked (see “Guided Fantasy” in Christison & Bassano, 1981). 3. Listing. Students generate lists of words related to a topic to stimu- late their thinking and to have words they can use in their writing. They may work individually, but listing is usually more productive (and more fun) when done with a partner or in a small group. Working together, students are likely to generate more words than each individual would be able to think of alone. One useful way of organizing the words is to set up a page with two columns containing
  • 131. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 119 Writing in an LEA Program 119 the letters of the alphabet, listed vertically, and to list the words accordingly. This organizational scheme, referred to as a taxonomy by Rothstein and Lauber (2000), is likely to result in the generation of still more words because students will try to think of at least one word for each letter. 4. Mapping. Students use a Mind Map (Buzan & Buzan, 1993), a Thinking Map (Hyerle, 1995), or some other graphical tool to orga- nize their ideas. Students in pairs or groups arrange words and phrases in the graphical display and then use it as an aid to writing. Figure 6.3 illustrates one kind of mapping done by an ELL and the composition that resulted. Figure 6.3 A Student’s Prewriting Map and Composition
  • 132. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 120 120 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Drafting Drafting involves putting first ideas in writing without undue concern for effective organization, spelling, or other conventions. At this point, students need to write as much as they can without feeling self-conscious, and they need to know that their first drafts will not be corrected or evaluated by the teacher. For young writers, especially ELLs, this step is vital to developing confidence and the belief that they have something of value to say. Revising Revising involves rethinking the content, organization, and wording of a draft. Students revise most effectively when they first meet in pairs or small groups to read their drafts aloud, obtain response, and get encour- agement. These sessions help students identify aspects of their writing that are effective and those that need further work. Responding to one another’s writing also establishes camaraderie among young writers and makes them feel they are working as a community of writers. An impor- tant feature of revision is that it can (and most often should) be done more than once while shaping a composition. Successive revisions can be very useful for writers at any level of English proficiency because each draft gives the writer a chance to make more improvements, the need for which may not have been seen on the first revision. Also, by using writing as a recursive process, students become used to the successive drafting that is commonly used outside school to shape professional and personal com- munications. For ELLs, revising more than once helps to reinforce their language learning while giving them a chance to do their best. Editing Editing involves reading the last draft as a proofreader to find and cor- rect deviations in spelling, usage, and mechanics. Students at all levels of English proficiency can usually edit their writing most effectively when they work together. Writers are almost always able to notice misspelled words and other issues better in others’ compositions than in their own. When students work together, the task is also more enjoyable. The teacher can provide assistance, if needed, as the “executive editor” in the class- room, one who is available to answer questions and who circulates to monitor the work and offer encouragement. Publishing Publishing involves sharing completed works in a public forum. Writers may read their final versions aloud in class, display them on the wall, post them on a class Web site, or bind them in a book for the classroom library. Students may also publish their writings in a school-sponsored
  • 133. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 121 Writing in an LEA Program 121 periodical, a local literary magazine, or a local paper. Publishing gives students recognition for their work and brings to them a positive sense of accomplishment. These five steps are most appropriate to the writing products listed in Quadrant D of Figure 6.2. Other types of writing need little or no prepara- tion, revision, or editing (e.g., entries in personal diaries). Still other writ- ing involves little or no prewriting, revision, or editing but is published (e.g., instant messages on computers). Some writing involves prewriting, drafting, and revising and is then put aside without editing or publishing; students may, for example, work for a while on a piece, then put it in a folder with other works in progress until a later time when they choose one to publish. The extent to which the full writing process is used also depends on students’ ages; very young children may spend much more time in prewriting and drafting activities than in revising and editing activities. Overall, students benefit from learning the writing process, but they also benefit from engaging in writing activities that do not require attention to all five steps. GUIDELINES FOR WRITING INSTRUCTION The frameworks and principles just presented can be translated into guidelines for making instructional decisions. These are relevant for all students, but we focus here on their value for ELLs. 1. Have students write about personally meaningful topics. As is true for dictation, writing is most effective when it stems from students’ experiences. Aspiring writers are frequently advised to write about what they know, and that is equally valuable advice for ELLs. 2. Have thinking and talking precede writing. Talking enables students to generate ideas, organize their thoughts, and formulate statements. The prewriting use of nonlinguistic rep- resentations such as Mind Maps (Buzan & Buzan, 1993) and Thinking Maps (Hyerle, 1995) in conjunction with talking is of par- ticular help to ELLs. In addition, when students talk about their ideas, they give each other encouraging feedback. 3. Emphasize writing as communication. Other activities, such as practice exercises in usage or spelling, should be a part of the instructional program, but writing to com- municate should be the priority. 4. Relate writing assignments to other texts and language activities. Dictated accounts, oral language activities, and other-author texts are ideal stimuli for writing. The more integrated the writing is with
  • 134. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 122 122 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners other language activities, the more likely the students will perceive and make use of the patterns that occur in words, sentences, and connected discourse. Awareness of such patterns helps students express themselves orally and in writing. 5. Have students share their writing. Reading compositions aloud reinforces receptive and expressive skills. Students may read works in progress or completed products and may give each other feedback that can help to improve future writing. 6. Engage students in a wide variety of writing activities. Students benefit from varied contexts, purposes, forms, and audi- ences for writing. The greater the variety, the more chances they have to find effective ways of expressing themselves. Writing reports and essays can be balanced with writing poetry or plays or writing dialogues with a partner. Revising and editing can be bal- anced with writing freely in journals and not revising the work. 7. Respond to errors with sensitivity. Recognize errors in usage, awkward phrasing, and difficulties with mechanics as natural outcomes of students’ levels of mastery of English. These characteristics of the writing improve as students’ English improves. WRITING INSTRUCTION FOR ELLS Because these principles hold true for all students, effective writing instruc- tion for ELLs is in many ways the same as effective instruction for native speakers. The primary difference is that ELLs have different linguistic and experiential backgrounds and are learning how to comprehend and speak the language while also learning to encode it. The key, as with reading, is to find the right activities to interest students, encourage them, enable them to feel satisfaction as writers, and help them learn the forms and conventions that will make their written expression as effective as possible. Writing for Beginners Beginners benefit from activities that result in minimal frustration and maximum satisfaction. They fare best when they compose with known words and focus on meaning. Useful writing activities include arranging word cards into statements, writing interactively with the teacher (McCarrier, Pinnell, & Fountas, 2000; Pinnell & McCarrier, 1994), and writ- ing on their own. They benefit from having their word cards on hand or having familiar words posted nearby. In addition, writing frames are very
  • 135. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 123 Writing in an LEA Program 123 useful in helping them structure their thoughts (Lewis & Wray, 1996; Marzano et al., 2001). Finally, beginners profit from both oral and written composing activities. Here are some activities that incorporate these vari- ous practices: • Give students envelopes containing known words to be arranged in sentences. For example, Figure 6.4 shows cards made from a dictated pattern book described in Chapter 2. Figure 6.4 Word Cards for Sentence Formation bark dogs like to to chew like bones dogs play dogs like to • Have students pair up, choose several words from their personal- ized vocabularies, and arrange them into sentences. Give them any additional word cards they may need to complete sentences. • Have students pair up and generate a list of words on a broad topic (e.g., food or sports). Have the pairs share their lists by reading them aloud or posting them. • Conduct interactive writing sessions with one student at a time or with a small group. Teacher and students decide together what to write and work together to encode the ideas. Sometimes they take turns writing words or letters; other times, students take over and do most of the writing while the teacher provides assistance on
  • 136. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 124 124 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners request. Tasks can include adding to a dictated account, creating scripts for plays, summarizing recent learning, composing a letter, or describing a recent experience. • Engage students in a discussion and record the ideas in a visual tool, modeling for them how to use the graphic. For example, have students talk about how life in America is similar to and different from life in their native countries and record their ideas in a graphic for comparing and contrasting, such as a Venn diagram. Next, model for them how to use the graphic as a memory aid, pointing to the relevant points as you restate the ideas. Then have students restate the ideas, using the graphic as you did. • As a writing frame, give students a language pattern from an oral language activity. For example, use the question–answer pattern described in Chapter 2 for helping students learn the names of objects: What is this? This is a(n) ___. Have learners use the pattern in their own writing, illustrate the statements, read them aloud, and show the illustrations. Possible completed statements from an indi- vidual might include the following: What is this? This is a book. What is this? This is an umbrella. What is this? This is a dog. • Use dialogues from oral language activities as models for writing. For example, after students have practiced a restaurant dialogue, have them pair up to write and read aloud similar exchanges. Here is an example of a model that might be used: Waiter: Good morning. What would you like to eat? Customer: I would like to have ___. Waiter: Would you like ___ or ___? Customer: I would like ___, please. Waiter: What would you like to drink? Customer: I would like ___, please. Waiter: Thank you! I will bring your order right away. • Have students pair up to talk about a recent experience they have shared and formulate two or three statements about the experience. Have pairs share their statements with the class, then work together to write them down. Encourage students to use word cards and pic- ture dictionaries as references. The priority for beginners is to increase their production of written language so that they begin to feel comfortable as writers in English. Teacher support and encouragement is essential; regular sharing helps
  • 137. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 125 Writing in an LEA Program 125 students focus on writing as communication and provides them with appreciative audiences for their efforts. Mechanically correct writing need not be a goal, but those who choose to correct their work may be helped to do so. Writing for Intermediate Students As students move from reading individual words and patterned texts into more complex language forms, writing activities can become more challenging. Intermediate students benefit from trying out different syn- tactical structures and text-structure patterns, exploring uses of words, and writing for a variety of purposes. Below are suggested activities that incorporate these practices. The first three engage students in composing but do not require them to generate words and sentences on their own. Each can be done repeatedly over the course of several days or weeks until students gain confidence. The rest of the activities involve generating words and sentences. • Give students their own dictated accounts, cut into sentence strips, and have them put the strips in order. Alternately, give students each other’s accounts as scrambled sentences and have them check each other’s work. In preparing sentence strips, put the sentences on new, same-size strips of paper instead of simply cutting an account up. Students should have to read the sentences to decide how to order them instead of putting them together as if they were puzzle pieces. • Give students four or five sentence strips from an other-author account they have not seen before but that includes many known words. Have students arrange these sentences in order and justify their decisions. A text with clear transitions (first, second, third; first, next, finally) will make the task easier and will also serve as an effec- tive model for students’ own use of transitions. • Arrange known words from dictated accounts in columns accord- ing to their functions in sentences. Have students work in pairs to choose a word or phrase from each column to compose a sentence, making as many different sentences as they can. For example, The car ran under the tree A dog was through the window An apple stopped on the chair man flew in the street bird sat
  • 138. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 126 126 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners With this set of words, possible sentences would be as follows: The dog sat on the chair. A bird flew through the window. The car stopped in the street. • Have students dictate three or four sentences, then complete the account independently in writing, working individually or in pairs. • Have students read previously dictated accounts aloud in small groups, discuss additions they might make, and work together to elaborate the accounts in writing. • Have students choose several favorite words from their Word Banks, meet in small groups to discuss the memories and associa- tions the words evoke, then work individually to write. Groups can reconvene to read aloud their writings. • Have the class discuss daily activities and dictate entries in a class journal to record and comment on the events. Then have students keep individual journals to record events at home and at school (Christison & Bassano, 1995; Olsen, 1977). • Give pairs or small groups copies of comic strips from which the characters’ dialogue has been omitted. Have them compose dia- logue orally, experimenting with various remarks the characters might be making, then write the dialogues on the cartoons (Christison & Bassano, 1995). • Engage students in freewriting (i.e., writing without stopping for a specific period of time). This encourages students to focus on what they have to say rather than on spelling or organization. First, have students pair up and each talk nonstop for one minute on a topic of their choosing or one that you assign. Then have students write, individually, for one full minute. Continue these talk–write sessions, gradually increasing the writing time to five minutes or more, depending on how well students remain engaged. Keep the papers or discard them, as you and the students wish. By tradition, freewriting is not evaluated or corrected by the teacher. It is used solely as an exercise to build fluency and confidence (Elbow, 1973; Fader & Shaevitz, 1966; Peregoy & Boyle, 2005). • Show students a colorful illustration and elicit comments about what they see in the picture. Distribute other illustrations to pairs to examine and discuss. Then have students write about the pictures. • Explain the concept of autobiography to students, reading portions of an autobiography to illustrate. Have them discuss their own per- sonal histories in pairs, then write autobiographical sketches (Riverol, 1984).
  • 139. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 127 Writing in an LEA Program 127 • Have students invent and act out brief social exchanges (e.g., asking directions, making a purchase, greeting someone on the street, or ordering food). Then have them work together to write these in dia- logue form. • Read aloud an interesting short story or show a brief video. Have students discuss the characters and events, then retell the story in their own words. This activity develops students’ comprehension of the story while giving them a purpose for writing (Dennis, Griffin, & Wills, 1981). • Engage students in a discussion and record the ideas in a visual tool, modeling for them how to use the tool. For example, have students talk about how their lives now are similar to and different from their lives last year. As they talk, record their ideas in a graphic for com- paring and contrasting. Have students use the graphic as a guide to writing a compare–contrast account. These activities encourage students to write their own ideas following an oral language activity. Figures 6.5 through 6.8 contain compositions by intermediate students that resulted from activities like these. The writings are in their original form and demonstrate how aspects of written expres- sion can vary considerably across students. In these compositions, many words are spelled correctly, and the syn- tactical structures are appropriate for the most part, but certain features reveal the students’ current English proficiency. For example, in Figure 6.5, Figure 6.5 Writing to Retell a Story These two stories followed the reading and discussion of a story called “Cementing a Friendship.” Each retells the story with some modifications the writers made on the plot. Once upon a time there was an man thath who likes to work paving the side walk. Then a boy was walking troug the street and he saw a man paving the street and the man saw the foot print. And the man smile and the man said to him self ho he is a little kid. Then the man tell him what you are doing here I was walking trough the street and I am so sorry because I mix up your work thaths OK did you want some ice cream sure. Come on to the store and they went to the store and they buy some ice cream and so they aet the ice cream the boy tooll the man he had to go now OK I see you tomorrow OK Good by. Once upon a tine there was a pretty stret but one day was an earthquake and the stret cone down one day a nan was paving the stret and a litle goy was lost and He went in the stret that it was wet when the nan see at the little goy first the nan get so mad But when he mew was happening he gat so sad he take the boy to the police and live hin wait there But the litle goy stare cying and then the nan cone back and ask hin wait he was crying the boy say I don’t have fanily could I live with you of course said the nan and the boy when hone with the nan and now the litle goy is a paber.
  • 140. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 128 128 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 6.6 An Autobiographical Sketch This autobiographical account was written by an eleven-year-old student who immigrated from China with his family. My Family I have a grandmother and grandfather. My grandfather is cook in a restaurant My father is a cook in a Chinese restaurant. My mother cleans room in a motel. My brother, Alexander goes to Bayside School. He is in the sixth grade. My sister, Mary goes to another school She helps my mother cook. Figure 6.7 Writing from Personal Experience Here are personal narratives from two students. On sunda I found a dollar and I went to the store and spended fifty cents so I had fifty cents then I beted my brother that I cold run faster then him from the park home and I lost and I lost fifty centc then he went to the store and I cutlent go because I diden’t have any money por me. My Vacation On my vacation I went to take care of son japonese children. They have nine puppies. and one gay one puppy gies because my sister’s babi carry to much the puppy. and I went to the town to the church. Figure 6.8 Halloween Stories These accounts were written by three students at Halloween. I got drest up like funkingstin I wint trackntriting and got some candy and went back hom and ate it all up. It is fun to go trickrtrite backe you get cande and cockes. My mom comes with me and it is nice to be withe her. On Hallowen I would like to be a wolf to go all around the houses getting candy with my friends and on the way I wold be eating candy. Some kids were mumys and witches some of the houses lookd skery to all the houses I went they had a pumpkin on the door some of the houses has pumpkins with a kandle in them in some houses people wernt in when my friends and I got tired of geting candy we went home and counted all the candy we got and the next day when we went to school we take some candy ate some in the way and sabed some for reses and some for lunch and when we got home we got some more candy the next day I was gona get some candy but they wernt sure I puted them and I knew my mom had gotten them because she doesnt want me to have caveties but my friends got candy and they gav me some.
  • 141. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 129 Writing in an LEA Program 129 one student has not mastered the spelling of through and that’s, whereas the other confuses m and n, but the encodings are consistent, indicating that the students are thinking about what they are doing. Also, the length of the accounts suggests the students’ comfort with writing English. In Figure 6.7, the second writing shows confusion with the sound of d (gay and gies instead of day and dies). These representations are understandable, given that this student was unable at the time to discriminate these sounds auditorily. Also, “carry to much the puppy” reflects the syntax of the student’s native language; she appears to have translated the thought as closely as possible into English It is more remarkable that these students encoded English as well as they did than that they misspelled some words. Because their teachers encour- aged them and accepted their unconventional phrasings and spellings, the students wrote confidently, fluently, and engagingly about things that were important to them. One of the most interesting indicators of a focus on com- munication is the writing of paving at the beginning of the second account in Figure 6.5 and paber (paver) at the end. The sounds of v and b are easily con- fused, and this boy had not yet learned to discriminate them auditorily. The inconsistency may also have resulted because the student was more intent on communicating meaning than on spelling correctly. Writing, as a complex communication task, can easily lead individuals to encode the language unconventionally when they have not fully inter- nalized conventional representations (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2005, pp. 20, 30–31). As oral skills increase, written language shows a corre- sponding improvement when production is not stifled by a premature emphasis on accuracy. When students keep writing, their compositions match conventional English more closely, and they begin to ask for help in revising and correcting their work. Rewriting is most effective when students aim to improve the way they have expressed their ideas. To maintain this focus, they need many opportunities to share their writing and to respond to the writing done by classmates. The most useful sharing occurs when students meet in small groups to read aloud and discuss their work, attending to the clarity of ideas expressed and the overall interest that the writing generates among the listeners. Reading and discussing their compositions in small groups reduces the anxiety many students feel about reading in front of the class and also gives more students a chance to read and respond. When engag- ing in peer response, students should be encouraged to focus primarily on the strong points of their work so that each group member maintains con- fidence as a writer. Listeners may be asked to use a writing response guide or a similar protocol in responding to a composition that a member of the group has read aloud (Healy, 1980; Peregoy & Boyle, 2005). Figure 6.9 contains an example of such a guide. As they read their compositions aloud, students ordinarily notice and correct some errors orally, rephrasing statements correctly that they wrote incorrectly. Some students also notice spelling errors as they read aloud;
  • 142. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 130 130 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 6.9 A Writing Response Guide for Intermediate Students These are the main points I heard: ___. I liked ___ best because___. I’d like to know more about___. words that they have seen often in print, especially, may not look right to them when they see them misspelled. These changes may be incorporated when students rewrite their compositions. If some students ask explicitly for help in correcting their work, assistance should be provided matter-of- factly, emphasizing correcting as a way of improving the effectiveness of the communication. If students encode the language unconventionally in the same way over time, these issues can be handled in mini lessons. For example, if the same error appears in several writings, lessons focusing on the particular element of usage can be planned. Such explicit instruction can be useful to students, but it is important to remember that as English skills improve, written language improves. Writing for Advanced Students As students engage in advanced reading activities, a still greater variety of composing tasks can be introduced, and audience-oriented writ- ing, as shown in Quadrant D of Figure 6.2, can be a focus. Students at this level are exploring a variety of other-author reading materials, especially literature and subject-area texts, and these can also serve as stimuli for writing. In Figure 6.10 are several of the more demanding kinds of writing that are suggested for advanced ELLs in the California Language Development Standards (California Department of Education, 2002). These are also recognized elsewhere as forms with which students at this level should be familiar. Although students may focus on more challenging purposes, forms, and audiences, it is still useful for them to use personally relevant topics. For example, after reading and discussing the corresponding forms of lit- erature, students might engage in writing activities such as these: • Fictional narrative. Students write a story about a family moving from one country to another or a student making friends with new classmates. • Fictional biography or autobiography. Students write a biography or an autobiography of an imaginary person who was born in one country and moved to another county to start a new life. • Descriptive account. Students write a detailed description of a place that is memorable to them, either in their native land or in the United States.
  • 143. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 131 Writing in an LEA Program 131 Figure 6.10 Key Forms of Writing Recommended for Advanced ELL Students Elementary School Level Summaries of stories Simple responses to literature Multiple-paragraph narratives Multiple-paragraph expository compositions Poetry Middle School Level Forms listed for elementary school and: Narratives, including personal narratives and fictional stories Persuasive compositions Expository compositions, such as description, comparison-contrast, problem-solution Fictional biographies and autobiographies Responses to literature, involving interpretations and text citations Career-oriented writing: business letters or job inquiry letters Reports and essays that include researched information and citations High School Level Forms listed for middle school and: Career-oriented writing: resumes and job applications Reflective compositions • Persuasive essay. Students write an essay to persuade readers of the value of seeking a new life in another country. • Compare–contrast essay. Students write an essay comparing and contrasting their life in their native land with their new life in the United States. • Problem–solution account. Students write about a specific problem they or their families had in moving from their native land to the United States and the way they solved it. • Documented research. Students write about their homeland, using periodicals, books, and Internet sites as sources of information. • Personal reflection. Students write a reflection on their current lives, with reference to their present situation and their hopes for the future. Here are compositions that illustrate writing done by advanced students. These learners were young adults attending a community college class to build English skills. Their assignment was to describe a special place, one with particular meaning to them. These are all first drafts; spelling, usage, and mechanics have not been altered.
  • 144. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 132 132 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners A special place that I like the most is a hill top called “EL VOLANTIN,” it is located five milles from my home town up on the mountains, and it is one of the tallest around there, it looks like a piramid with a triangular flad rock sticking out of it, were I used to sit watching the little towns way down on the bottom, but the most I like was to watch the eagles fly and to watch the sunset. Wath I use to do was to sit at the edge of the rock with my fit hunging over the rock. By going there when I was a child helped me to enjoy and respect natural life, my feeling for this place haven’t change and I hope will never change. I am going to talk about my house and surroundings in Japan. My house has a bed room, a living room, two tatami rooms, a bath room, and a kitchen. I like a tatami room very much. We can use it sometimes a dining room, a bedroom, and a living room. Also, I like smell of the tatami. The old Japanese proverb said that a new tatami and a new wife is the best thing. Do you agree? Also, the tatami room is quiet and wide space, because furnitures are not suit in the tatami room. The tatami was made of stem of rice and color is light brown. In Japan, there are a plenty of stems, because of rice country. At the summer time, you can pick up many kind of shells at the beach, a pink one which is look like baby’s hand, a blue one, a green one, etc. The air is nice too, because of near the mountain. This is briefly explanation about my house. Now, I am living in the U.S. that I missed my house very much. If you will go to Japan, please visit my house. There is a small pleace in Mexico which I love very much, is located an Michoacan state, about 3 hour away of Guadalajar an 8 hour away of Mexico City, the name of that town is call Santiago Tangamandapio, Mich. Is look like a typical town of the cantry, but is not so agly like that other, because is very clean and the people are very friendly with all the people that goes to the town. All the walls are white and the roofs is red is a tipical colonlia town. It have one caffe chap and one tear in the whole town and it have sevral store, were you can go and buy closse or go to la plazita. La plazita is very tipical please in Mexico especial in that small towns like this one were is very tipical to do that in Mexico. I live in Santiago Tangamandapio 13 year, all my childhood a remember my friends and all my teacher and school house were I used to play and got on fites with my friend. Evey time a remember my town a get melancolic. My bedroom is the place which has particular meaning for me. My bedroom is not too big. It is small and comfortable. On one of the walls I have my bad, and two pictures ganging on the wall. On the other wall there is a window that I can watch people walkins on the street. In other of the walls I have my stereo, and one picture ganging of the wall which has a lot of meaning for me. My bedroom it is the place where I like to be most of my free time. It is the place where I like to do my homework, or lisent miucic. It is the place where I like to think what I did, or what I want to do. In conclusion my bedroom is the place which has particular meaning for me, and I like to pass most of my free time. I’am going to describe my home town. My home town is Tehran. Tehran is capital of Iran. Tehran is a big city excitly the seem L.A. It has a lot of factory, company, hospital, college, university, school, church, store and big and big building.
  • 145. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 133 Writing in an LEA Program 133 The people in my home town are very friendly with each other. Always they helping each other. They are very honest. The life in Tehran is start at 7:00 in the morning until 12 PM and the people are very activity. I born in Tehran and I lived there for 19 years. One hundred years ago, Hong Kong was still a poor city. There were not many people lived, because there were not much chance to looked for jobs, most of the residents were the fishermen, operated on the ocean, some worked in the farms. Their lifes were so quiet and peaceful, lived in the nature and beautiful island. But today’s Hong Kong, such like the big cities around the world, mod- ernize tall buildings align the streets. You would feel that you are in the valley when walk in the city, the traffic are busy at any time except in the midnight. Terrible pollution makes people sick. A few years ago, although Hong Kong’s government constructed subway for transit, but there are still has a lot of prob- lem for traffic, because too many people live in the small island. When Sunday or holidays, people walk in the streets just like the waves move in the ocean. Many people rather stay in home instead go out when holiday. Although Hong Kong has many problems, but Hong Kong is such amacing place, he has huge energy to proceed forward, there are change everyday. Couble months ago I saw a TV show was intorduce about Hong Kong, they said Hong Kong is a great city. They though New York City is a greatest city of the world before they went to Hong Kong, but now they are change their mine. Students at this level can focus on editing as well as revising, but teacher correction alone has minimal effects on students’ writing: It is simply accepted without leading the student to learn how to edit indepen- dently (Collins, 1980; Samway, 2006). A more effective approach is to inte- grate students’ revising with oral expression activities, model conventions, and give students many repetitions with a new form to help them under- stand and internalize it (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2005). Revising and editing can best be accomplished by first having students work together, reading their writing to each other, discussing good points, and suggesting changes, as was suggested for intermediate students. English-speaking classmates may serve as responders, but advanced students are often able to suggest to each other useful changes in phrasing, vocabulary, sentence structure, and usage as well as desir- able revisions in content and organization. Working together allows them to benefit from the close connections that exist between writing, reading, speaking, and listening. Here is one sequence of activities as an example: 1. Students write first drafts. 2. Students meet in response groups of four to read their drafts to each other, using a Writing Response Guide such as that shown in Figure 6.11. Readers make notes of any responses that they think will be useful as they revise.
  • 146. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 134 134 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 6.11 A Writing Response Guide for Advanced Students These are the main points I heard: ___. I liked ___ best because ___. These details were most vivid to me: ___. I’d like to know more about ___. Here is one suggestion: ___. Do you have any questions for me? 3. Students revise their drafts individually. 4. Students meet in pairs to share their revisions, explaining what they did and why. Partners listen, express encouragement, ask questions, and make suggestions. 5. Students edit their drafts, attending to spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics, then exchange papers with their partners for a sec- ond read. Partners discuss the edits each has made in both papers, aiming for agreement. 6. Students meet again in their original foursomes to read their revised and edited drafts to each other and respond informally (i.e., without the use of a response guide). They also ask the group for help on anything they are still not sure of (e.g., verb forms, choice of words, spelling, syntactical structure, transitions). 7. Students submit their papers to the teacher for evaluation or share them more widely with the class and others. As students work together, the teacher can meet with individuals to revise more extensively, following the collaborative procedures described in Chapter 4 for revising dictated stories. For example, here is a composition by José, an advanced student, and the revision he did with teacher help: Good health is very important to me because If you are not in good health When you come to in every class you are almost sleep and that is why you need a good health The things you can do for a good health are—to eat good food with a lot of colories and vitamines and not for be with your friends in the movies don’t sleep, you have to sleep the time that is goo for your health. The Gift of Health Good health is very important to me because if I am not in good health when I come to school, in every class I fall asleep. That is why I need to be healthy. The things I can do to keep myself healthy are to eat good food with a lot of vitamins and get enough sleep and exercise.
  • 147. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 135 Writing in an LEA Program 135 José made his revisions after he read the composition aloud to the teacher, suggested what he thought needed work, and obtained sugges- tions from the teacher. During the discussion, José decided on his own to leave out some ideas and add new ones. After their discussion, the teacher asked José to verbalize what he intended to do in order to make sure he set about the revision purposefully. The teacher also made note of anomalies that had appeared before in José’s writing and planned instruction to address those specific needs. Some activities help advanced students refine their writing skills while developing their reading abilities. Especially useful for this purpose are imitation writing, sentence combining, sentence elaboration, dialogue journals, and Read-Talk-Write. All these activities develop familiarity with language structures, build vocabulary, and give students opportunities to gain greater control over written expression. • Imitation writing. This strategy helps students learn specific syntacti- cal structures and increase their control of their language usage by working with a model (Butler, 2002; Hillebrand, 2004; Nessel & Graham, 2007). The steps are as follows: 1. Read the model. 2. Copy the model. 3. Substitute synonyms for key words in the model. 4. Write a statement on a different topic that adheres to the original structure. The model may be one or two sentences or a paragraph. It may be taken from a dictated account or from a familiar other-author text. Reading and copying help the student focus on the structure. Substituting words helps students expand their vocabularies. Students may complete only the first three steps, but since the imitation is such an enjoyable challenge, it is advisable to have them do all four. Examples are shown in Figure 6.12. Figure 6.12 Examples of Imitation Writing Model: The cars on the speedway were dusty, noisy, and fast. Substitution: The automobiles on the racetrack were dirty, loud, and speedy. Imitation: The clouds in the sky were large, white, and fluffy. Model: The happy puppy ran quickly to the door. Substitution: The cheerful dog dashed rapidly to the entry. Imitation: The stately eagle flew gracefully along the shore. Model: Rubin ate his dinner and then walked to the cinema. Substitution: Rubin consumed his supper and then strolled to the theater Imitation: Kylie wrote a letter and then cycled to the mailbox.
  • 148. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 136 136 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners • Sentence combining. Combining short, simple statements into sen- tences of greater complexity is ideal for increasing students’ sen- tence variety (C. Cooper, 1973; Peregoy & Boyle, 2005). The original may be from a dictated account or from a familiar other-author text. By manipulating language in this way, students learn different ways of saying the same idea. Here is an example: Original: The man was walking down the street. The man was very old. A dog walked with him. The dog was very old too. The man carried a cane. He moved slowly. He stopped often to rest. He wore a brown coat. He also wore a brown hat. Improved: The very old man was walking down the street. His dog, also very old, walked with him. The man carried a cane and walked slowly, stopping often to rest. He wore a brown coat and a brown hat. • Sentence elaboration. Expanding paragraphs to include more descrip- tive words or phrases helps students improve their writing by adding specific details (Blau, 1987; Peregoy & Boyle, 2005). The orig- inal may be from a dictated account or from a familiar other-author text. Here is an example: Original: The girl was playing in the park with her brother. They ran and jumped. Soon, some other children came along and they all played together. Improved: The brown-eyed, laughing girl was playing in the park with her younger and smaller brother. They ran across the lawn and jumped in the sand. Soon, four other children, two girls and two boys, came along, and they all played happily together for the rest of the afternoon. • Dialogue journals. This ongoing correspondence is usually between the student and the teacher (Nessel & Graham, 2007; Peyton & Reed, 1990). Keeping such a journal can be an especially effective way of encouraging reluctant students to write. Once they understand the process, they can maintain dialogue journals with peers. For example, four students keep dialogue journals with the teacher, who responds to their entries daily for about a week until they understand the process. Then those students form two pairs and continue dialogue-journaling with each other while the teacher begins journaling with another four. At the end of the next week, they continue in pairs while the teacher starts another four. When all students are dialoging with partners, they can switch partners periodically. The teacher may spot-read the journals regularly and add comments as desired. • Read-Talk-Write. This strategy builds students’ comprehension and writing fluency (Nessel & Graham, 2007). Students need copies of
  • 149. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 137 Writing in an LEA Program 137 the same text, some blank paper, and pencils. Informational texts such as newspaper articles are especially effective. Students orga- nize themselves into pairs and decide who will be “A” and “B.” They read silently for one minute (timed by the teacher), then put the text aside. The teacher announces who is to talk first (A or B), and all students with that designation begin talking to their partners about what they read. They must talk without stopping, even if they need to repeat themselves because they cannot remember more. Listeners are not allowed to comment. Talkers proceed for one minute (timed by the teacher); then partners trade roles and proceed for another minute. Then, still not looking at the text, students write, individually, as much as they can remember from reading, talking, and listening. They write for two to three minutes or longer (timed by the teacher). When the time for writing is up, students may return to the text to check information. Also, they may discuss as a class what they have read so far. Then they engage in another round or two of reading, talking, and writing. The entire text does not have to be completed. The primary purpose of the activity is for students to have the experience of restating what they read, first orally and then in writing. Many students find that Read-Talk-Write helps them better comprehend and better express what they learn. To illustrate the balance that is inherent in an LEA program, Figure 7.1 (in the next chapter) shows sample instructional plans for three consecu- tive days that incorporate writing activities into a complete program that also includes dictated accounts along with vocabulary and word- recognition activities. SUMMARY Writing in an LEA program is considered an expressive language process that is analogous to speaking and a text-based process that supports and is supported by reading. All writing activities are closely related to oral language and reading activities so that students’ language learning in each area reinforces learning in the others. Students often write about topics that are relevant to them, and they share their work with one another reg- ularly. These activities help them see writing as a form of meaningful com- munication. Ideally, students engage in some writing for their own use and may not revise, edit, or share it. With other writing, they follow the five-step process that leads to publication. As students improve their English skills, they become more effective at revising and editing their work to make it maximally comprehensible to others. Revising and editing are handled in different ways, depending on the student’s purpose, level of comfort with writing, and self-confidence as a writer.
  • 150. 06-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 138
  • 151. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 139 7 Putting It All Together T he components of an LEA program can be integrated in different ways. In Figure 7.1 are three-day instructional plans that illustrate ways in which work on vocabulary, word recognition, and writing can be fully integrated with the use of dictated accounts for teaching reading. Descriptions of classroom applications follow. Each teacher used dic- tated accounts in different ways. Variation is also evident in the ways ELLs were organized for instruction. Taken as a whole, the examples illustrate the flexibility of LEA and show how commonalities of the approach lead to effective instruction across grade levels. Figure 7.1 Three Instructional Plans for a Balanced LEA Program Balanced Instruction for Beginners (Three Days) Learning Purpose Day 1 Activities Learn words; build sight Students engage in object naming activity with word- (reading) vocabulary and-picture cards. Reinforce word learning Students listen to teacher-related anecdote that uses object words. (Continued) 139
  • 152. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 140 140 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 7.1 (Continued) Use oral context clues Students play missing-word game based on teacher-related anecdote. Listen for syllables Teacher pronounces multisyllable words, clapping once for each syllable, then pronounces other words and has students identify the number of syllables they hear. Listen for specific Teacher pronounces pairs of words; students say if they English phonemes start with the same sound or different sounds. Build vocabulary and Students add words and illustrations to their picture dictionary skills dictionaries. Compose in writing Students arrange word cards (from dictated accounts) to form sentences and, if desired, add their own thoughts in writing. Practice oral usage in Teacher engages students in informal conversation about a conversation memorable event at school; students continue conversation in pairs, using words they have learned. Engage with other- Students browse materials in the classroom library, looking author written texts at and talking about those that capture their interest. Learning Purpose Day 2 Activities Practice oral usage in Teacher engages students in conversation about a topic of conversation interest; students continue conversation in pairs. Reinforce word learning Students review previous day’s word learning by identifying and naming target objects in the room. Use oral context clues Students listen to teacher read a rhyming poem several times, then supply words orally that the teacher leaves out on subsequent readings. Listen for syllables Teacher pronounces multisyllable words, clapping once for each syllable, then pronounces other words and has students identify the number of syllables they hear. Listen for specific Teacher pronounces pairs of words; students say if they English phonemes start with the same sound or different sounds. Build vocabulary and Students add words and illustrations to their picture dictionary skills dictionaries, then meet in small groups to talk about their words with each other. Compose in writing Students use one or more frames to structure their writing on a topic of their choice. Engage with written Students browse materials in the classroom library, looking texts at and talking about those that capture their interest.
  • 153. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 141 Putting It All Together 141 Learning Purpose Day 3 Activities Practice oral usage in Teacher engages students in conversation about a topic of conversation interest; students continue conversation in pairs. Reinforce word learning Students work in pairs to review previous two days’ word learning by naming target objects in the room. Use oral context clues Teacher introduces students to a song with a clear language pattern; students learn the song, then supply words orally that the teacher leaves out in reciting the song lyrics. Listen for syllables Teacher pronounces multisyllable words, clapping once for each syllable, then pronounces other words and has students identify the number of syllables they hear Listen for specific Teacher pronounces pairs of words; students say if they English phonemes start with the same sound or different sounds. Build vocabulary and Students add words and illustrations to their picture dictionary skills dictionaries, then meet in small groups to talk about their words with each other. Compose in writing Some students pair up to generate one or more lists of words on a topic of their choice while the teacher conducts interactive writing session with the others. Engage with written Students browse materials in the classroom library, looking texts at and talking about those that capture their interest. Balanced Instruction for Intermediate Students (Three Days) Learning Purpose Day 1 Activities Practice oral usage; Students engage in discussion of a topic with teacher; build experience and dictate new account to teacher. context for reading Build sight (reading) Students review words from previous dictated vocabulary accounts (activities with structured word lists, Word Bank cards). Use context clues Students complete modified cloze activity based on a previous dictated account. Use structural analysis Teacher gives instruction in singular and plural forms; students find examples of each in their Word Banks. Use phonetic analysis Teacher pronounces words; students find and say words in their Word Bank that have the same beginning sounds. Use dictionary With teacher guidance, students add to the personal pronunciation keys they are creating. (Continued)
  • 154. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 142 142 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 7.1 (Continued) Engage with written Students read self-selected books from the classroom texts library, discuss what they read with partners, and identify one or two new words to learn. Reinforce learning of Students meet in pairs to talk about the new words they new vocabulary found in reading other-author texts. Compose in writing Students work in pairs to reread previously dictated accounts, discuss what they might add, and collaboratively write their additions. Learning Purpose Day 2 Activities Develop reading fluency Students work in small groups to read current and previous in a meaningful context dictated accounts to each other. Build sight (reading) Students review words from previous dictated accounts vocabulary (activities with structured word lists, Word Bank cards). Use context clues Students complete modified cloze activity based on a teacher-written account that uses words from their previous dictated accounts. Use structural analysis Teacher gives instruction in syllabication rules. Students find examples from their Word Banks of words that fit the rules. Use phonetic analysis Teacher shows students familiar words that illustrate several specific sound–letter associations. Students find other illustrative examples in their Word Banks. Use dictionary With teacher guidance, students look up several familiar words in the dictionary to practice finding words, reading definitions, and discussing their meanings. Engage with written Students read self-selected books from the classroom texts library, represent what they read in drawing, and share their drawings in small groups. Build vocabulary Teacher gives instruction in the meanings of four words that represent important concepts they are leaning in a subject area. Compose in writing Students engage in several minutes of freewriting, then pair up to read what they wrote to each other. Learning Purpose Day 3 Activities Develop reading fluency Students work in small groups to read current and previous in a meaningful context dictated accounts to each other. Build sight (reading) Students review words from previous dictated accounts vocabulary (activities with structured word lists, Word Bank cards). Use context clues Teacher gives instruction in using context clues. Students look for unfamiliar words in self-selected reading materials and apply what they learned to figuring out the words.
  • 155. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 143 Putting It All Together 143 Use structural analysis Teacher gives students familiar words cut into syllables. Students work in pairs to put the syllables together to form the words. Use phonetic analysis Students categorize the words in their Word Banks according to phonic elements. Use dictionary Students choose several words from their self-selected reading materials to look up in the dictionary. Build vocabulary Students meet in small groups to share the new words they found in their self-selected reading materials, incorporating what they learned from the dictionary. Engage with written Students read self-selected books from the classroom texts library, then work in small groups to tell each other what they read about. Compose in writing Students write in response to the self-selected books they read and discussed. Balanced Instruction for Advanced Students (Three Days) Learning Purpose Day 1 Activities Practice oral usage; Students discuss topic and dictate account to teacher. build experience and context for reading Build sight (reading) Students review the words in their Word Bank cards by vocabulary reading them to each other. (These are words from dictated accounts that the students identified as unknown to them.) Use context clues Students complete modified cloze activity based on an other-author text they read recently as a group. Use structural analysis Teacher gives instruction in a common root word and a common prefix, then gives students an exercise that involves applying what they learned to figure out unfamiliar words with the same root or affix. Use phonetic analysis Teacher gives instruction in sound-letter associations for sounds that do not occur in the students’ native language. Use dictionary Students play game that involves using guide words to find words quickly in the dictionary. Build vocabulary Teacher gives instruction in the meanings of five words that represent important concepts students are learning in a subject area. Compose in writing Students write in their Learning Logs about the concepts that were the focus of their vocabulary lesson. Engage with written Students read self-selected books from the classroom texts library and discuss what they read with partners. (Continued)
  • 156. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 144 144 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 7.1 (Continued) Learning Purpose Day 2 Activities Develop reading fluency Students work in small groups to read current and previous in a meaningful context dictated accounts to each other. Build sight (reading) Students review words from previous dictated accounts vocabulary (activities with structured word lists, Word Bank cards). Use context clues Students practice their use of context clues by identifying unfamiliar words in an account the teacher wrote for them. Find examples of words Students use the dictionary to find more examples of words with a specific prefix using the common prefix they learned about yesterday. Practice with specific Teacher shows students familiar words that illustrate the phonemes specific sound–letter associations that were the focus of yesterday’s lesson. Students find other illustrative examples in their Word Banks and in other-authors materials. Use dictionary Students look up unfamiliar words in the dictionary from the other-author materials they have been reading. Engage with written Students read self-selected books from the classroom texts library and discuss their reading in small groups. Build vocabulary Students individually draw representations of the words they learned the day before, then meet in small groups to share their drawings and discuss the words further. Compose in writing Students organize their thoughts in a graphic organizer, then write a first draft of a composition. Learning Purpose Day 3 Activities Develop reading fluency Students work in small groups to read current and previous in a meaningful context dictated accounts to each other. Build sight (reading) Students review words from previous dictated accounts vocabulary (e.g., activities with structured word lists and Word Bank cards). Use context clues Teacher conducts a lesson in using specific kinds of context clues and gives students an exercise that involves applying what they learned to figuring out other words. Practice syllabication of Students find multisyllable words in other-author texts they words have read recently and divide them into syllables. Practice with phonetic Students categorize the words in their Word Banks according analysis to the phonic elements they have been learning about. Use dictionary Students look up unfamiliar words in the dictionary from the other-author materials they have been reading and present them to one another in small groups.
  • 157. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 145 Putting It All Together 145 Engage with written Students read self-selected books from the classroom texts library, then meet in small groups to tell each other what they read about. Build vocabulary Class plays a game that involves use of the vocabulary they have been learning in recent weeks, including the new words that have been the focus of the past two days. Compose in writing Students meet in small groups to respond to one another’s first drafts (written the day before) and begin to make revisions based on the response. LITERATURE-BASED LEA One of the authors mentored a teacher who had twenty-five ELLs in a first- grade class of twenty-eight students. Most had recently immigrated to a metropolitan area and were attending school for the first time. The students hailed from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, China, Germany, and several Spanish-speaking countries. The three native speakers of English eagerly attempted to communicate with their ELL classmates, and the teacher focused on oral English. As the ELLs’ oral skills increased, mentor and teacher used a combination of storytelling and LEA to teach reading. The selected stories were well structured for easy telling and retelling, and the content lent itself to drawing and enacting. For example, one story was The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt (New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1964). The mentor told the story without the book, using gestures, facial expressions, simple props, and different voices to enhance meanings. Mentor and teacher then took turns telling the story again for several few days, inviting students to chime in and to draw scenes as a follow-up activity. Soon, all were familiar with the story, as their responses and drawings showed. For example, during retellings, students readily supplied the name of the next animal to appear and the sounds they had come to associate with it. Also, all students drew scenes that demonstrated comprehension (e.g., the mitten stretched large with animals inside or the mitten breaking apart and ejecting animals). Teacher and mentor organized students into small groups to dictate a brief retelling. Figure 7.2 contains three dictations that resulted. Students received copies of the account to which they had contributed. Each pasted the copy in a notebook and drew an accompanying illustration. The original retellings, written on chart paper, were posted in the classroom. The teacher used these accounts for daily work with the LEA activities described in Chapters 2 and 3, basing her plans on students’ needs. Students frequently reread their dictated retellings to themselves and each other, engaged in Word Bank activities, and browsed through the classroom library. The teacher also used the dictated accounts as the basis for word- recognition activities, using the school’s skill scope and sequence as a guide.
  • 158. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 146 146 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 7.2 Three Dictated Retellings of “The Mitten” The Mitten The mouse came and got in the mitten. The frog came in the mitten. The fox came in. The cricket put his leg in the mitten and it popped. The Mitten The mouse got in the mitten. The frog got in the mitten. The owl got in the mitten. The fox got in the mitten. The mitten exploded. The Mitten Was Lost The mouse came and got in the mitten. And the frog came and got in with it. The rabbit got in the mitten. The pig got in. The owl went in. The bear got in and pushed the other animals away. The cricket went in and POW the mitten popped. The teacher also engaged students in activities that deepened story comprehension and helped them develop concepts, learn words, and remember the sequence of events. Here are some examples: • The teacher folded chart paper to create nine sections. She retold the story, pausing at the appearance of each animal to write the animal’s name in a section and sketch the animal. Students used this chart for retelling the story to each other independently. • Students found pictures of the animals in the old magazines. The teacher labeled them and posted them in the area designated as “The Mitten” area. • Students drew pictures of story events, then shared the pictures, telling what they represented. The teacher displayed these in ran- dom order and invited the class to reorder them. This became a favorite independent activity for pairs and small groups. • Students took turns enacting the story, speaking in English, and using pantomime to represent the events. • Building on words used in the story, the teacher engaged students in various word-recognition activities that focused on consonant sounds. As students engaged in these follow-up activities, the mentor and the teacher began work on a second story, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (New York: Viking Press, 1962), using the same activities to build reading skills. The next story was One Fine Day by Nonnie Hogrogrian (New York: Macmillan, 1971). Altogether, about a dozen stories served as the basis for the same sequence of activities. Each new dictation provided opportuni- ties to discuss new vocabulary and concepts. For example, because many of the students had never experienced snow, the teacher used crushed ice to help them understand its look and feel.
  • 159. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 147 Putting It All Together 147 The students enjoyed the activities. Their oral skills increased steadily, and they read more and more fluently as the weeks went by. As they gained competence with oral and written English, they responded to a number of other-authors texts, including those that were part of the school’s regular literacy curriculum. By the end of the year, all the students were speaking English comfortably, all had learned to read in English, and all were regu- larly reading other-author materials as well as their dictated accounts. LEA IN THE CONTENT AREAS A primary-grade teacher had six ELLs who ranged from beginning to intermediate level. The teacher was required to use the adopted reading program in the morning and so decided to incorporate LEA activities into her afternoon content-area lessons. For example, in a science unit on health habits, the teacher explained how hand washing removes germs, demon- strated hand washing, and had students practice as she verbalized what they were doing. She also taught them “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and had them scrub their hands until they finished singing. She then had students pair up and verbalize what they had done and why, pairing the ELLs with native English speakers. Next, the native speakers returned to their desks to write summaries of the hand-washing information while the teacher discussed the new vocabulary and concepts with the ELLs and obtained the dictated account shown in Figure 7.3. Figure 7.3 Washing Hands: A Dictated Account Washing Hands Our hands had germs. We washed hands. We used soap and hot water. We sang. And we washed and washed until the song was end. Hands are clean now! The teacher printed out a copy for each of the ELLs, and they paired off with native English speakers to read the account aloud. In exchange, the native speakers read aloud their summaries. The ELLs then pasted their dictation into their notebooks and drew accompanying pictures. Over the next few days, the teacher used the account for further instruction with the ELLs. Students found words from the account in their morning reading materials, used words from the dictation as examples of phonic elements, and gained confidence as readers by rereading the dictation. A third-grade classroom teacher had many intermediate-level ELLs in her class along with the same number of native English speakers. She, too, used dictated accounts in the afternoon to supplement the morning’s read- ing instruction, basing them on topics from social studies units. For
  • 160. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 148 148 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners example, the class learned about the Kwakiutl and summarized key points in the dictated account shown in Figure 7.4. While they were engaged in this activity, the other students had paired up to write summaries. Figure 7.4 The Kwakiutl: A Dictated Account The Kwakiutl José said, “The white men killed some Kwakiutl.” Fernando said, “The Kwakiutl lived in Canada.” Enrique said, “The Kwakiutl lived in a longhouse.” Maria said, “The Kwakiutl used bark to make clothes.” Francisco said, “Water was important to Kwakiutl.” Cesar said, “The Kwakiutl eated fish and shrimp.” Rafael said, “The one that had money had a totem pole.” Ana said, “ The Kwakiutl lived with three or four families.” Juan said, “Some of the Kwakiutl were slaves of white men.” Bonita said, “When they had ceremony they danced and telled stories and sing.” David said, “They ride in canoes.” Margarita said, “The Kwakiutl think the nature is good for others.” The teacher decided to include students’ names with their statements so that they could more easily identify their contributions. Formatting the statements as direct quotations modeled conventions of punctuation the class had been studying. After reading the account several times with the teacher, the students pasted their copies in their notebooks, highlighted their contribution in yellow, and drew an accompanying illustration. For follow- up, the ELLs read the account to their English-speaking classmates and then listened to their peers’ summaries. In addition, the teacher gave the ELLs words from the dictated account to discuss, write about, and put into semantic maps. The students completed some of these activities when they went to supplementary English-learning classes, where the information about the Kwakiutl also led to lively discussions. The class made masks and totem poles and collaboratively created a mural depicting Kwakiutl life. They also worked in small groups (mixed English speakers and ELLs) to find more information about the Kwakiutl in books and on Web sites, and they presented brief reports on their findings to the whole class. A WORK-ORIENTED INSTRUCTIONAL UNIT A high school work-oriented class included several students who worked after school or on weekends and many others who were seeking employ- ment. Employed students talked about their work in class; job seekers spoke of work they hoped to find and the skills they had to offer. Students dictated accounts based on these discussions and used them to develop fluency, increase reading vocabulary with Word Banks, and learn word- recognition skills, using the words in their dictated accounts as exemplars. Students also collected employment ads from the local paper and from online job descriptions. They read and discussed these together, adding words
  • 161. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 149 Putting It All Together 149 from the ads to their Word Banks. Those who were seeking employment replied to selected ads and then reported to the group on the outcomes. Students also used the ads as models for ads they wrote themselves to reinforce their understanding of the forms and conventions of classified ads. Here are examples: Wanted auto mechanic. Must know tune-up and break jobs. Apply in person. For sale, one brother. Very smart. Like to wash dishes. Best Offer. For sale one mo ped. Red color. Small dent. Run cheap. Look for room to rent. Quiet with bath close to school. No smoke. In addition, students practiced completing job applications, made lists of words found across applications, and used these to develop their word- recognition skills. They also engaged in dictating, composing, and reading invented dialogues between job seekers and employers. Those who were heading to an interview rehearsed in class with a peer or the teacher play- ing the employer. They also read and discussed pamphlets and notices dis- tributed by the school’s career counseling department and used these as the basis for additional dictation and writing. LEA IN A MIXED-AGE ELL CLASS The work of Sandra Coopersmith-Beezy in California provides another example of LEA in action. Her ELL class included an eleven-year-old Chinese girl and a Vietnamese brother and sister, ten and seven, respec- tively, who entered school in September without any oral English skills. She focused first on oral language development, and by January, these three students were communicating comfortably in English and were able to read familiar words. The teacher grouped them together for further instruction because they had made similar progress and got along well. She adhered to the basic principles of LEA but modified the procedures to suit the needs and interests of the students. Knowing their fascination with animals, the teacher showed them pho- tographs of baby animals, had them choose the ones they liked, and used these for discussion and dictation. While leading the students to examine and talk about a picture, the teacher recorded selected statements on chart paper. On occasion, students used unconventional English. If the teacher decided to use such a statement in the account, she first revised it orally, had the student repeat the revised statement, and wrote it in its revised form. Although she wouldn’t ordinarily correct the language of these intermediate-level students, her decision was appropriate. The students were eager to learn conventional usage, often asked if their statements were correct, and were not frustrated at being corrected. Also, the Vietnamese
  • 162. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 150 150 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners children took their schoolwork home to share with their parents, who were also just learning to speak and read English. The teacher wanted the Vietnamese family to have good models of English since they had few other contacts with English speakers. In revising their language, the teacher maintained the original content and sentence structure. Two of the group’s earliest dictations are shown in Figure 7.5. Figure 7.5 Two Early Dictated Accounts From a Mixed-Age Group Fish Fish live in the ocean. This fish is red. We eat fish. I like fish. The fish is big and the fish is small. Meow the Kitten The eyes are circles. The kitten is brown. The eyes are yellow and black. The ears are big. The paw is white. The kitten is cute. I like cats. The teacher ordinarily supplied English words when the students did not know the English equivalent for a word they wanted to use. For instance, one child said, “Fish live in the . . .” and indicated by pointing to the pictured water and gesturing that he meant ocean, so the teacher sup- plied that word. Talking about the kitten, another student said, “The . . . is white” while pointing to the paw and looking questioningly at the teacher, who then supplied the word paw. The dictated accounts reflect the language patterns the students used orally and some of the vocabulary they had learned. In “Meow the Kitten,” for example, the word circles seemed to result directly from a lesson on English words for geometric shapes. The teacher also made use of an English-Vietnamese dictionary. For instance, one student dictated, “The kitten is nice” but was dissatisfied with the adjective. The teacher sug- gested cute and helped them looked up the Vietnamese equivalent. The student agreed that cute was the word she wanted. This occasional com- parison of English and Vietnamese sometimes proved amusing as well as enlightening. For example, the group discovered to their surprise that while meow is the Vietnamese word for cat, it is also the English word for the sound made by cats. The title reflects their delight at this discovery. By asking probing questions, encouraging discussion, revising awk- ward English phrasing, and supplying needed words, the teacher helped the group construct an account that capitalized on what they knew, included some new words, and reflected what they wanted to say. As the group dictated accounts from week to week, they reused many words, reinforcing their speaking and reading vocabularies. Each new account also led the teacher to select new phonics elements to teach. Further
  • 163. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 151 Putting It All Together 151 examples of accounts are shown in Figure 7.6. All were dictated in response to animal pictures from the same book. Figure 7.6 More Dictated Accounts From a Mixed-Age Group Birds The baby birds are hungry. The birds are black. The mouth is wide. They live in the nest. The nest is in the tree. The bird is little. The Butterfly The butterfly is cute. She likes flowers. She is on the flower. The butterfly is many different colors. The girl is looking at the butterfly. The nose is little. She lives in the air. The Little Deer The nose is black. The deer lives in the jungle. His ear is big. His eyes are black. His face is yellow. He is looking at the flowers. The flowers are blue and pink. The plants are green. He is very cute. During the week, the group reread their current account many times, either together as a group or individually and focused on learning individ- ual words by identifying known words in other contexts. The students also took copies of their dictations home to read to their parents. The Vietnamese family read the accounts together and made a game of identi- fying words, using strategies the children had learned in school. These practice activities proved sufficient to reinforce the students’ learning of words from their dictated accounts. Sequential Lists, Scrambled Lists, and Word Banks were not used since they did not seem necessary for addi- tional reinforcement. After using the animal pictures extensively, the teacher broadened the topics for dictation. One day she brought in a salamander, and the students were intrigued. On another occasion, the Vietnamese siblings talked about their move to a new house, and their experiences were used as the topic of another account. These two dictations are shown in Figure 7.7. They illus- trate the growing control over English vocabulary and sentence structure as well as the children’s ability to describe in English more than the concrete, immediate features on which they had focused in the animal pictures. During these months, the teacher also introduced pictures of families that reflected typical local activities. Accounts based on discussion of these pictures are shown in Figure 7.8. The dictations contain short, simple sen- tences that do not reflect the more fluent language the students were using orally. The students took great pride in their dictations and wanted their accounts to reflect the best possible English, so they continued using famil- iar sentence structures.
  • 164. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 152 152 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Figure 7.7 Additional Dictated Accounts From a Mixed-Age Group The Salamander Mrs. Beezey brings a salamander to school. We hold the salamander in our hand. She is walking on my hand. She is crawling on Hai’s hand. She lives in the water and the mud. Mrs. Beezey put it in the glass. The salamander eats bugs. We like the salamander. The New House The new house is big. The new house has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. The house is pink. The new house has swings. The back yard is big. There is grass in back and in front of the house. The tree is high. The tree is in the back yard. The house is very, very old. We like the big, new house. Figure 7.8 Family-Oriented Dictated Accounts From a Mixed-Age Group The Family The family is at the table. The girl is sad because she can’t play. Outside it is raining. The girl is eating fruits and food. There are apples and bananas and meat and eggs and pie and milk on the table. The cat is sitting on the chair and looking at the plate. She wants to eat. The Children and Hot Dogs The children are walking to eat. They see a table. They have a box. The box is in the boy’s hand. The children are cooking hot dogs. The boy has glasses. They are hungry. The children are eating the hot dogs on the table. They are drinking 7-Up. The children are on the beach. The children are putting garbage in the garbage can. They are happy. Almost every day, a teacher, aide, or student would bring something interesting into the classroom to share, and these objects also served as good stimuli for dictations. “Mille the Rabbit” in Figure 7.9 is an account dictated on one such occasion in March. This account reveals the children’s growth since September, when they were speaking virtually no English, and since January, when they first began dictating. Figure 7.9 Mille the Rabbit Mille the Rabbit Mrs. A brings the rabbit to school and shares it with everybody. The rabbit has long ears and a little tail. The rabbit is brown. Its stomach is white. The rabbit eats a cookie, and a carrot, and parsley. She jumps on the cage and around the classroom. Mrs. A tied a pink ribbon on the rabbit’s ears. We like the rabbit. The rabbit is cute.
  • 165. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 153 Putting It All Together 153 Students wrote their own accounts as well, often basing their writing on first-hand experiences. The teacher helped them revise and edit, and the students then recopied their compositions in their writing notebooks to share with family and friends. Two of these are shown in Figure 7.10. Figure 7.10 Written Compositions From a Mixed-Age Group The Family and the Plane The family is eating by the lake. The boy is playing with the plane. The boy is sad because the plane goes down in the water. His father tries to get the plane. He didn’t get it. The dog swims to the plane and gives it to the boy. They boy is happy. His father cleans the plane. The Men and the Truck The men get off the truck to drink coffee. Another man is stealing the truck. The men are yelling, “Help! Help!” They are taking another car to chase the man who took the truck. The policeman arrested the thief. The men are happy and they drive the truck away. The End These examples, taken together, illustrate the different ways in which LEA can be used in classrooms across grade levels and the flexibility that is inherent in the approach. They are similar, though, in that students’ lit- eracy instruction was based on their own personal experiences and was tailored to suit their particular needs, interests, and levels of English fluency.
  • 166. 07-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 154
  • 167. App-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 155 Appendix A LEA and Selected State Standards T he chart below contains selected California standards for English language learners (ELLs) (California Department of Education, 2002) and corresponding LEA activities. Not all standards have been included, and many are abbreviated for simplicity. The intent here is simply to illus- trate ways in which LEA procedures are aligned with published expecta- tions for students who are learning English. Each level includes the standards (and LEA activities) listed for previous level(s). The chart below contains selections from the New York Standards and associated Performance Indicators (PI) for ELLs (The University of the LEA Activities That Standard Address the Standard Listening and Speaking Beginning Level • Engage in object-naming • Begin to speak with a few activities words or sentences . . . • Listen to and read along with (e.g., single words or phrases) teacher-read pattern books • Discuss before dictating Intermediate Level • Dictate accounts • Participate in social • Form sentences with conversations with peers and word-and-picture cards adults on familiar topics. . . . • Interact with classmates in • Make oneself understood when LEA activities speaking. . . . Advanced Level • Negotiate and initiate social conversations. . . . (Continued) 155
  • 168. App-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 156 156 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners (Continued) LEA Activities That Standard Address the Standard Reading: Word Analysis and Vocabulary Development Beginning Level • Engage in phonetic analysis • Recognize and produce activities English phonemes that are like • Read along with teacher-read (and unlike) the phonemes pattern books students hear and produce • Read wordless picture books and in their primary language personalized vocabulary • Produce most English • Converse with classmates phonemes while beginning • Acquire personalized to read aloud vocabularies • Produce and comprehend simple • Learn affixes in known words English vocabulary • Engage in phonetic analysis • Recognize simple affixes and activities with dictated accounts, use this knowledge to interpret Word Banks, and other-author meanings of unknown words texts • Discuss before dictating Intermediate Level • Dictate and read dictated • Apply knowledge of English accounts phonemes in oral and silent • Read other-author material reading to derive meaning • Apply word-recognition from texts strategies when reading • Use more complex vocabulary • Use acquired vocabulary when and sentences . . . to express ideas reading independently • Read simple vocabulary, • Apply context-clues strategies phrases, and sentences when reading dictated accounts independently and other-author texts Advanced Level • Apply knowledge of sound–symbol relationships and word-formation rules to derive meaning from text • Apply knowledge of vocabulary while reading independently • Interpret the meaning of unknown words by using knowledge gained from previously read text
  • 169. App-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 157 Appendix A 157 LEA Activities That Standard Address the Standard Reading: Comprehension Beginning Level • Respond to teacher-read pattern • Respond orally to stories read books and other texts aloud • Read and discuss pattern books, • Identify basic sequence of events wordless picture books, dictated in stories read aloud, using accounts, and other-author texts words or visual representations • Engage in comprehension activities with pattern books, Intermediate Level wordless picture books, dictated • Read texts; orally identify main accounts, and other-author texts ideas and draw inferences • Identify basic sequences of events in stories read Advanced Level • Respond orally to stories read aloud . . . Writing Beginning Level • Create and maintain picture • Copy words posted and used in dictionaries the classroom • Create sentences using • Write phrases and simple personalized vocabulary sentences that follow English • Create short accounts using syntactical order interactive writing • Write within the structure of a Intermediate Level framed paragraph • Follow a model to independently • Use graphic organizers for write a short paragraph organizing ideas for writing • Write simple sentences about an • Create account in response to event or character from a written other-author texts text • Create accounts based on • Produce independent writing personal experiences that is understood but may • Create accounts based on include inconsistent use of subject-area learning standard grammatical forms • Draft, revise (with peer support), Advanced Level and edit (with peer support) descriptive, expository, and • Produce independent writing narrative accounts for a variety with consistent (or partially of purposes consistent) use of capitalization, punctuation, and correct spelling
  • 170. App-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 158 158 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners State of New York, The State Education Department, & The Office of Bilingual Education, 2004). Although the same standards are given for all grade levels, the PIs pose increasing challenges from one grade level to the next. To simplify, key PIs are paraphrased or abbreviated. LEA Activities That Standard Address the Standard Standard 1: Listen, speak, read, and write in English for information and understanding PI-1: Use reading and listening • Listen to and read dictated strategies to make text informational accounts comprehensible and meaningful • Listen to and read other-author informational materials • Apply word-recognition strategies to informational text • Apply learned English vocabulary when reading informational text PI-7: Present information clearly in • Discuss topic and dictate a variety of oral and graphic forms informational account • Discuss and dictate or write about other-author informational texts • Use nonlinguistic representations to summarize other-author text information PI-9: Convey information using a • Compose and dictate or write variety of organizational patterns accounts, dialogues, and other and structures informational texts PI-11: Use the writing process to • Compose informational texts, produce well-constructed proceeding from draft to informational texts published work PI-12: Convey information and • Discuss and dictate or write a ideas through spoken and written variety of informational accounts language, using conventions of • Revise dictated or written American English accounts to conform to conventional English usage
  • 171. App-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 159 Appendix A 159 LEA Activities That Standard Address the Standard PI-13: Engage in collaborative • Discuss and dictate or write a activities to read, share, discuss, variety of informational accounts information • Share dictated and written accounts with peers and others • Read, discuss, and write about other-author informational texts PI-15: Apply self-monitoring and • Use pre-dictation discussions, self-correcting strategies for dictated accounts, interactive accurate language production writing activities, and revision sessions to improve production of oral and written English Standard 2: Listen, speak, read, and write in English for literary response, enjoyment, and expression PI-1: Read, listen to, view, write • Read, discuss, dictate and write about, and discuss a variety of about wordless picture books, literary texts pattern books, stories, and other literary texts PI-2: Apply strategies to make • Apply word recognition literary text comprehensible and strategies when reading literary meaningful texts • Apply general English vocabulary and personalized vocabulary when reading literary texts PI-5: Make predictions, inferences, • Predict, infer, and use other and describe different levels of reading-thinking strategies when meaning, including literal and reading other-author literary implied meanings texts PI-6: Read aloud with confidence, • Read aloud dictated accounts, accuracy, fluency, and expression pattern books, and other-author literary texts PI-7: Compose and present • Dictate or write in response to responses to published literary other-author literary texts works (Continued)
  • 172. App-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 160 160 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners (Continued) LEA Activities That Standard Address the Standard PI-8: Create personal stories, • Dictate or write narratives, poems, and songs poems, and other creative texts based on personal experience PI-10: Engage in collaborative • Discuss and dictate or write activities to create and respond about other-author literary texts to literature • Engage in collaborative creative response to literature through enacting scenes, drawing, and other forms of response • Engage in creating original literary texts by using existing texts as models and inspirations PI-11: Create, discuss, interpret, and • Dictate, write, revise, and edit respond to literary works using dictated or written responses to appropriate vocabulary, grammar, literature with peer support and spelling, and punctuation help PI-12: Apply learning strategies to • Apply word-recognition strategies comprehend and make inferences when reading literary texts about literature • Apply general English vocabulary and personalized vocabulary to the reading of literary texts Standard 3: Listen, speak, read, and write English for critical analysis and evaluation PI-1: Develop and present • Discuss, dictate, and write about interpretations, analyses, and personal responses to experiences, evaluations of issues, ideas, texts, focusing on interpreting and and experiences evaluating the experiences • Discuss, dictate, and write responses to other-author texts with viewpoints that can be interpreted and evaluated PI-3: Recognize and communicate • Read and discuss dictated and personal and multiple points of student-written texts and other- view within and among groups in author texts to identify and discussing texts respond to the different perspectives that are represented
  • 173. App-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 161 Appendix A 161 LEA Activities That Standard Address the Standard PI-4: Evaluate students’ own and • Collaborate with peers to others’ works, individually and evaluate and revise dictated and collaboratively written accounts PI-6: Speak and write to influence • Engage in persuasive speaking, an audience, using the dictating, and/or writing on a conventions of English variety of topics PI-7: Engage in collaborative • Work with peers to read, discuss, activities through a variety of dictate, and write a variety student groupings of texts PI-9: Apply learning strategies to • Apply word-recognition explore, examine, and interpret a strategies when reading other- variety of materials author texts • Apply general English vocabulary and personalized content-area vocabulary to the reading of other-author materials Standard 4: Listen, speak, read, and write in English for classroom and social interaction PI-1: Use a variety of oral, print, • In groups, discuss and dictate or and electronic forms for social write about experiences communication and for writing • In groups, read and discuss a for oneself variety of texts, both in print and electronic form PI-4: Listen attentively and build • Build listening skills through on others’ ideas when interacting group discussion and dictation with peers in classroom and through various collaborative activities PI-6: Understand and use a variety • Engage in dialogues, discussions, of oral communication strategies in dictation, small-group work, and English for various purposes other activities requiring oral communication PI-8: Negotiate and manage • Engage in discussions, dictation, interactions to accomplish social sharing sessions, and other and classroom tasks activities that require listening and turn-taking (Continued)
  • 174. App-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 4:58 PM Page 162 162 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners (Continued) LEA Activities That Standard Address the Standard PI-11: Discover alternate ways of • In pre-dictation discussions, saying things in social and listen to others and try out classroom interactions different ways of stating one’s own ideas PI-12: Apply self-monitoring and • Use pre-dictation discussions, self-correcting strategies in social dictation, and other LEA and classroom interactions activities to improve production of oral and English Standard 5: Demonstrate cross- cultural knowledge and understanding PI-3: Recognize and share cross- • In discussions, listen to and cultural experiences and ideas and respond to the perspectives of connect with those of others different classmates • Dictate and write from individual perspectives, then share the compositions with classmates PI-4: Compare and contrast oral • Listen to, view, and read a traditions, myths, folktales, and variety of folk literature literature from the United States representing different cultures; and other regions of the world compare and contrast these with similar American texts • Use a variety of folk literature from different cultures as the basis for dictation, writing, and speaking PI-6: Recognize and demonstrate • Engage in daily activities with an appreciation of some classmates (who represent a commonalities and distinctions range of linguistic and cultural across cultures and groups, traditions) including the students’ own • Use different cultural traditions and perspectives as the basis of dictated and written accounts that are shared within the classroom
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  • 181. Index-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 5:03 PM Page 169 Index Abstract concept books, beginning students personalized vocabulary and, 29–31 and, 28 personalized vocabulary sample unit, 31–35 Advanced students picture dictionary activities and, 35 building context for dictation, 64–65 reading comprehension standards for, 157 comprehension-building activities and, and transition to intermediate level, 36–37 89–90 word card activities and, 34 context clues and, 104 wordless picture books and, 27 creation of dictated account, 65–66 writing instruction guidelines for, 122–125 dictated accounts from, examples of, 75–79 Building context for dictation follow-up activities, 79–81 for advanced students, 64–65 instructional plans for, 143–145 for beginning students, 36–42 learning words, 73–75 for intermediate students, 44–46 and mixed-age ELL class, 149–153 oral history projects and, 87–88 California standards, 155–157 reading revised account orally, 72 Characteristics of English language learners, reading revised account silently, 71–72 7–12 reinforcement of learned words, 75 Communication rereading/revising dictations, 66–73 in common social situations, 26 storytelling and, 87 English language learners (ELLs) structured vocabulary building and, 85–86 and, 12–14 topical texts and, 88–89 in informal conversations, 25–26 working with a group, 81–85 in larger community, 26–27 writing instruction guidelines for, 130–138 in school, 26 Antonyms, as context clues, 94 writing as, 121 Audience, expressive language process Compare-contrast essay, 131 and, 116–117 Comparisons, as context clues, 94 Composing (process of), 118–121 Beginning students, 36–37 Comprehension of text communication in common social activities for advanced students, 89–90 situations and, 26 and dictated accounts, 2, 43–44 communication in informal conversations and literature-based LEA, 145–147 and, 25–26 reinforced by illustration, 37 communication in school and, 26 and writing as language process, communication in the larger community 113–116 and, 26–27 Computer-based language activities, 58 context clues and, 102 Concept development, 25, 79, 86, 92, 94–96 extension of reading program for, 35–36 Conceptual equivalency, 92 instructional plans for, 139–141 Content areas, using LEA in, 147–148 listening/speaking standards for, 155 Context clues and word meaning, 93–94 and mixed-age ELL class, 149–153 Context clues and word recognition, 101–104 naming objects and, 21–25 Contrasts, as context clues, 94 oral language and, 20 Coopersmith-Beezy, Sandra, 149 169
  • 182. Index-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 5:03 PM Page 170 170 Using the Language Experience Approach With English Language Learners Creation of dictated account Individual dictation (versus group), 60–61 for advanced students, 65–66 Informal conversations for beginners, 25–27 for beginners, 36–42 Intentional vocabulary learning, 93–96 for intermediate students, 46–48 Intermediate students Culture and learning to read, 3, 7, 12, 16. building context for dictation, 44–46 computer-based language Definitions, as context clues, 94 activities for, 58 Descriptions, as context clues, 94 context clues and, 102–104 Descriptive accounts and writing, 131 creation of dictated account for, 46–49 Dialogue journals, 136 and dictated-account activities, 55–56 Dictated accounts instructional plans for, 141–143 and advanced students, 65–66 and learning words from dictated and beginning students, 36–42 account, 49–50 in the content areas, 147–148 and mixed-age ELL class, 149–153 as a core LEA activity, 1–2 other-author activities for, 57–58 and intermediate students, 55–56 reading comprehension LEA framework and, 15 standards for, 157 in mixed-age ELL class, 150–153 reading dictated account orally with, 51 reading orally, 37, 49, 51, 53, 55, reading Sequential List with, 51–52 66–67, 70, 72 reinforcing word learning for, 52–55 reading silently, 50, 52, 55, 67, 70, 71, 72 and silent reading of dictated reinforcing word learning, 25, 30, 43–35, account , 50–51 52–55, 75, 79–81 Word Bank activities for, 56–57 and teaching reading as communication writing instruction guidelines for, 125–130 process, 12–14 writing standards for, 157 Dictionary use, 30, 34, 35, 86, 96–97, 100 Documented research, 131 Language acquisition, 5–7 Drafting, 120 Language patterns and LEA, 1, 3, 14, 47, 70 Editing writing, 120, 133–135 reading from experience and transition to English language learners (ELLs) intermediate), 36–42 characteristics/needs of, 7–12 writing and, 124 distribution across regular classrooms Language, writing as process of, 113–116. of, 16–17 Literacy instruction, use of published language acquisition/reading and, 5–7 programs for, 3 and oral language development via personalized activities, 16–17 Multiculturalism and teaching reading as communication literacy programs and, 3, 10–11 process, 12–14 mixed-age ELL classes and, 149–153 and using LEA framework/strategies, 15–16 Exact language (in dictated accounts), 47–48 Naming objects as beginner oral language Experiences activity, 21–25 dictated accounts of ELLs and, 14 New York Standards, 158–162 LEA framework of ELLs and, 15 and strategies for ELLs, 15–16 Oral history projects, 87–88 Expressive language processes, 114–116 Oral language communication in common social Fictional biography/autobiography, 130 situations (beginners) and, 26 Fictional narratives, 130 communication in informal conversations Follow-up activities for advanced (beginners) and, 25–26 students, 79–81 communication in larger communities Form, expressive language process and, 116–117 (beginners) and, 26–27 communication in school (beginners) Group dictation (versus individual), 60–61 and, 26 expressive language process and, 116–117 Imitation writing, 135 and extension of beginners’ reading Incidental vocabulary learning, 93 program, 35–36
  • 183. Index-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 5:03 PM Page 171 Index 171 naming objects (sample unit) and, 21–25 Standards other-author text activities and, 57 California standards, 155–157 personalized language activities and, 21 New York standards and performance and personalized vocabulary, 29–31 indicators, 158–162 personalized vocabulary sample Storytelling, 87 unit, 31–35 Structural analysis, word recognition picture dictionary activities and, 35 and, 104–106 and reading from experience for Structured vocabulary building, 85–86 beginners, 20 Students. See Advanced students; Beginner and strategies for ELLs, 16 students; Intermediate students and transition to intermediate level Summary, as context clue, 94 (words to language patterns), 36–37 Synonyms, as context clues, 94 wordless picture books (beginners) and, 27–29 Thematic books for beginners, 28 and writing as process, 113–116 Topical texts for advanced students, 88–89 Other-author texts, 2, 14, 44, 55, 57–58, 61, 64, 89, 111 Vocabulary balanced approach to, 110–111 Personalized language activities for and dictionary use, 96–97 beginners, 21 incidental learning of, 93 Personal reflection (written), 131 intentional learning of, 93–96 Persuasive essay, 131 versus word recognition, 91–92 Phonetic analysis Vocabulary, personalized activities for teaching, 106–109 benefits of, 29–31 as part of a balanced program, 139–145 picture dictionary activities importance of in LEA, 14, 15, 16, 20, 36, (beginners) for, 35 44, 96, 98, 100, 106 sample instructional unit, 31–34 in word recognition, 106–110 word card activities (beginners) for, 34 Picture books, 27 Picture dictionary activities, Word Bank activities for intermediate 30, 34, 35, 86, 96 students, 54–57 Prewriting, 118–120 Word card activities for beginners, 34 Problem-solution account, 131 Word cards, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 54, 73, Publishing writing, 120–121 74, 75, 80, 86, 122–123 Purpose, audience, and form in writing, Word recognition 116–118 balanced approach to vocabulary and, 110–111 Reading building skill in, 97–99 as a communication process, 12–14 context clues and, 101–104 and language acquisition, 5–7 in an LEA program, 14 and oral language, 20 phonetic analysis and, 106–110 Reading aloud (teacher), 12 prerequisites for, 99–100 Read-Talk-Write strategy, 137 structural analysis and, 104–106 Receptive language processes, 114–115 versus vocabulary, 91–92 Revising writing, 120, 133–135 Working with a group (advanced students), 81–85 Sanchez-Villalpando, Matilde, 69 Work-oriented instructional unit, 148–149 Scheduling instruction Writing for a balanaced LEA program, 139–145 for advanced students, 130–138 for advanced students, 64–75 for beginning students, 122–125 for beginning students, 22–25 composing, process of, 118–121 for intermediate students, 59 English language learners Scrambled lists, 52–54 (ELLs) and, 11, 14 Sentence combining, 136 for intermediate students, 125–130 Sentence elaboration, 136 instruction guidelines (general), 121–122 Sequential lists, 49–52 as a language process, 113–116 Silent reading, 12, 50, 52, 55, 67, 70, 71, 72 purpose/audience/form and, 116–118
  • 184. Index-Nessel-45540.qxd 3/21/2008 5:03 PM Page 172 The Corwin Press logo—a raven striding across an open book—represents the union of courage and learning. Corwin Press is committed to improving education for all learners by publishing books and other professional development resources for those serving the field of PreK–12 education. By providing practical, hands-on materials, Corwin Press continues to carry out the promise of its motto: “Helping Educators Do Their Work Better.”