This study adopted the Language Experience Approach (LEA) as a remedial program to investigate whether or not there would be improvement of a slow learner’s English vocabulary size after she finished the program. This research focused on the three types of vocabulary knowledge, the meanings, the written form, and the spoken form of words out of the eight items a person needs before he or she claims a word is mastered, which was listed by Nation (1990).
The subject in the study was an eleven-year-old low achieving six grader in an elementary school in Taipei, who had only a small size English vocabulary. The study was a twelve-week session of the Language Experience Approach as a remedial program. The total hours were 25. The program included five learner-created stories on different topics. The teacher translated the student’s stories into English, and used them as teaching materials. A vocabulary pretest was given to the subject before the program, a posttest right after, and a delayed posttest one month after.
Results of the pretest, posttest and delayed posttest were compared, and indicated the vocabulary power of the subject significantly increased after the three-month LEA treatment. The subject showed an increase of 85.93 percent in her posttest score, and demonstrated even a better score in her delayed posttest. Compared with the pretest, the delayed posttest score was increased by 107.81 percent.
There were six reasons inducted for the subject’s increased vocabulary power: materials connecting to real life, topics and words that interest the learner, self-created stories as the materials, repeatedly reading, stress less learning environment and personalized learning.
The LEA is still a new concept of English instruction in Taiwan. More positive research findings are required to further prove that the LEA could be a great opportunity for all the teachers and students who crave for some change in language learning.