In all forms of LEA, the central principle is to use the student's own vocabulary, language patterns, and background of experiences to create reading texts, making reading an especially meaningful and enjoyable process. Traditionally, LEA techniques involve these steps (Nessel & Jones, 1981; Stauffer, 1980):
Step 1: The teacher and the students discuss an experience in which all have recently participated, such as a school field trip or the examination of an unusual object. As the teacher and the students discuss their observations and reactions, the students' understanding of the experience is deepened while oral vocabulary and language skills are developed and reinforced.
Step 2: As students formulate and express their ideas, the teacher guides them in creating a dictated account. Students offer statements that they want included in the account, or the teacher selects statements from the ongoing conversation and suggests that these be used. The teacher records the students' statements on chart paper, constructing the text
while the students watch. Seeing their words written down, students connect what they just said to what appears on the paper.
Step 3: The teacher reads the account to the students, modeling the sound of fluent, expressive reading. Students then read it several times, with teacher help as needed, until they become familiar with it.
Step 4: With the teacher's guidance, students learn to recognize specific words from the account and develop the decoding skills of context, phonics, and structural analysis, using the account as a resource. Students may also write their own thoughts to supplement and extend the dictation.