ERIC Number: ED459972
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching Reading to American Indian/Alaska Native Students. ERIC Digest.
This digest summarizes ways to help young American Indian and Alaska Native children become fluent readers. There are numerous reading intervention programs, each with its own set of claims and counter-claims. Phonics approaches are designed for standard English speakers, and students with limited English abilities end up parroting what they read without comprehension. A major criticism of basal readers and research-based reading programs is that the material is chosen for a generic American audience with few, if any, stories that relate to Indian culture. The language experience approach uses words from students' oral vocabularies, familiar stories, community oral histories, and predictable books to teach reading lessons. The whole-language approach is compatible with Native beliefs and traditional teaching methods, but its lack of structure can overwhelm teachers. Balanced approaches draw on both phonics and whole-language methods. In balanced approaches, teachers can supplement basal readers with community and tribal reading materials. Using materials written in students' Native language improves reading skills in the Native language and English, and attitudes towards school. Parents can help their children by reading to them. Teachers should use reading materials that relate to children's lives and provide opportunities to learn new words and practice oral language in English and in their Native language. (Contains 19 references.)
Descriptors: American Indian Education, Basal Reading, Culturally Relevant Education, Elementary Education, Language Experience Approach, Limited English Speaking, Phonics, Reading Instruction, Reading Material Selection, Reading Strategies, Whole Language Approach
ERIC/CRESS, P.O. Box 1348, Charleston, WV 25325-1348. Tel: 800-624-9120 (Toll Free). For full text: http://www.ael.org/eric/digests/edorc01-10.htm.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, Charleston, WV.