What is language experience?
Language experience is a process for reading and writing which involves the ideas and language of the child and his/her own experiences. Language experience works in a variety of ways.
Tutoring with the newspaper
As teachers, teacher assistants and parents interact in a one-to-one mode with children, the daily newspaper becomes a very important tool for learning. The newspaper provides up-to-date vital information in a format which is motivational and practical.
Activities by the grade
The activites selected for this workshop have been designed to expose your child to the newspaper while reinforcing basic skills he learns in school. The activities have been grouped according to the grade levels for which they are most appropriate: primary - grades K-1, early - grades 2-3, and middle - grades 4-6. Where appropriate, activities have been extended with a description of how an activity may be used with younger or older children.
Notes for Parents
1. Before starting an activity, talk about what you are going to do. Encourage your child to talk with you about what, why, and how the activity will be done.
2. Ask questions that have more than one right answer. Your child will become more willing to take a chance and will come to understand that even though their answer may be different from yours, it can be good, too.
3. Ask questions that require more than one word as an answer. Encourage your child to use different words to express a thought.
4. Encourage your child to expand answers. This will help you to understand what the child means.
5. Invite your child to ask questions. Such questions will provide you with an opportunity to clarify ideas and tasks.
6. Give the child a chance to think about what is to be done. Don´t be too quick to step in to help or do it for the child. Such rescues make a child overly cautious and discourage attempts to solve problems.
7. Help the child to make decisions and judgements based on personal understanding and information available at the time. Help the child to feel comfortable with their own judgment – even when a different decision may need to be made when additional information becomes available.
8. Encourage and reward the child´s success on early steps of an activity. When you reward only perfection and reject good guesses the end product becomes more important than the process of learning.
9. Give the child an opportunity to move at their own pace and direction. Help the youngster feel good about learning!
10. Help to make the activities fun or novel and thus your child will view learning as fun and exciting. Play games with the newspaper. Don´t teach lessons.
REMEMBER: If your children see you read the newspaper and talk about what you are reading, they will want to do likewise. Talk with them about what they read in the newspaper and see on TV.
Modified from Ira Gordon´s DESIRABLE TEACHING BEHAVIORS: Stevie Hoffman, University of Missouri, Columbia.