(Today’s slice was prompted after working with one of my first graders earlier today.)
I incorporate the language experience approach with several of my students as an additional way to support their fluency development. After my first and second graders dictate their stories, we choral and echo read before they then start to practice reading it on their own. I not only love using this approach with students as method for building their fluency and word recognition, but also because it provides students with a platform for telling their stories. I have one student in particular who has many stories to tell and is such a wonderful conversationalist. I needed a way for D to share his stories and ideas within the context of the lesson and the LEA was a perfect way to do this. My principal also got involved after watching one of our lessons and provided D with a variety of pictures to use as a part of the process. Since she knows the family well, she provided us with some family pictures that D can use as a springboard for dictations, which has further enhanced this process for us.
Reading D’s dictations are one of my favorite parts of the day. D loves anything to do with farming and tractors (really, any kind of heavy equipment) and he dictated a story about bush hog, a tractor, and a truck. Towards the end of the dictation, D talked about what to do when the tractor doesn’t start. He suggested that when this happens, “just take a PTO device and hook it up to the tractor and get a truck or a car and four-wheeler and hook it up to the device you use to pull it. The person that said to do that on You Tube said that is the redneck way to start a tractor.” D also dictated a story about taking care of his baby lambs and noted that “whenever I got home sometimes they would be wandering around in the yard.” Another dictation involved mud-bogging with a remote-control Ram truck (he was very specific that it was a Ram truck). I love the voice that is evident in each dictation as well as the vocabulary that D uses in these stories (e.g., “device,” “haul,” “wandering,” “neighbor”). I love how fluent he gets with each successive reading. Most of all, though, I love how this activity allows him to tell his stories and to see his stories as having value.