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Literacy Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Language experience and the Ready to Read series

Language experience: A rich teaching approach for literacy learning

Language experience encourages students to explore, think, and talk. This talk, during and after the language experience, provides many opportunities to expand students' vocabulary, extend their knowledge of grammar, and scaffold their interactions.

The teacher may work with students to write a text about the experience, which will then be available for reading together and for independent reading. Students may also write their own texts.

Language experience activities help to provide a bank of experiences that students have in common. These can be recalled and referred to in subsequent learning.

Language experience activities are often related to current topics or to students’ own lives. They can be particularly effective when linked to a specific text, for example:

  • watching a demonstration of flax weaving before reading the poem card Nanny
  • using Skype to talk to students in another school before or after reading Talking to Nanny
  • viewing a DVD about native New Zealand birds before or after reading Did You Shake Your Tail Feathers?
  • having a “royal banquet” where everyone (including the teachers) dresses up, dances, and shares food after reading The Hole in the King’s Sock, Shoes for the King, and The King’s Birthday
  • visiting a local garden to find out what vegetables could be grown and start a class garden after reading Growing Pumpkins.

Background information

Updated on: 20 Nov 2014