This paper will compare and contrast three approaches to teaching reading vocabulary: the language-experience; the basal; and the individualized.
In the language-experience approach the child's own language and his environment form the basis of the reading materials and the words to be taught (Jewell & Zintz, 1980). Typically, the teaching procedures in the language experience approach include a written record, which is planned cooperatively by the pupils and the teachers. This plan is kept on a chart known as the experience chart. For example, a record of an experience that the class might have had when finding leaves on a walk they took might read as follows: We went on a walk; we found some pretty leaves; some were red; some were brown; we found yellow leaves. This experience chart would then serve as a basis on which to add vocabulary words which had not been previously learned or known.
The language-experience approach can serve a variety of purposes (Dyson, 1981). Important among these is that it provides the opportunity for continuing experiences that are in harmony with the language development trends of the children. That is, children will use words which are meaningful to them to describe their experience. The general steps to be followed by the teacher are listed below:
1) After the children have participated in an interesting and significant experience they discuss it.
2) If motivation for making a chart is not provided during the discussion a pupil or the teacher suggests it.
3) The pupils with the help of the teacher, plan the title, the general content, and the exact sentences as the teacher does the writing on the chalkboard or on a large sheet of paper posted so all can see it. The teacher proceeds according to the general rule that too much teacher direction in any phase of the teaching can defeat the purpose of making the children's language-experience chart (Morris, 1979).