My student is able to express her ideas orally, but has a low level of oral comprehension

Challenge:
My student is able to express her ideas orally, but has a low level of oral comprehension

Scenario:
I met with my tutee for the first time last Friday. She’s in third grade, a real sweetheart. Her teacher was kind enough to fill out my entire questionnaire form so I knew a lot about her walking into the session. It really helped. At the very least, I knew what she was interested in. We had a little over two hours together so we had plenty of time to get to know each other, have a little fun, and do some assessments.

I started out with Total Physical Response (TPR) in the form of “Simon Says”, which she loved. This activity proved useful because we were able to play and simultaneously I was able to assess her understanding of different concepts like directionality, adjectives, nouns, verbs. She also enjoyed looking/talking about the magazine pictures that I brought. She is an extremely talkative kid, but one thing I found very interesting was that she doesn’t have a very high oral vocabulary. She talks a mile a minute and then when she comes to a word that she doesn’t know she just acts it out, either with a facial expression or a gesture. She doesn’t hesitate at all when she does this and she’s such a good actress that I had very little trouble following what she was trying to say. However, if we were to talk on the phone, I’d probably be very confused. Did anyone else have an experience like this? Her teachers tell me that her low oral vocabulary is their number one priority at this moment because although they can understand her, she can’t always understand them and consequently falls behind in her lessons.

Since she’s so active and gets bored easily, I think I’m going to start our lessons out with Language Experience Approach (LEA). This should be fun for both of us and will allow me to work on her vocabulary and her reading and writing skills without putting her on the spot. One thing I do recommend and have done with a lot of tutees in the past is sort of “interview” them about how they view reading and writing. It really helps you gauge how to approach both subjects, especially if they’re touchy ones. Her teachers sort of told me as much in the questionnaire, but I was able to get more out of her, not only by what she said, but how she acted when she said it. If anyone has any suggestions for me regarding what vocabulary we should work on first I’d love to hear it! (Is there a list of necessary vocabulary somewhere?) Using Language Experience Approach (LEA) to ease frustration level.

Possible Strategies:
Using Language Experience Approach (LEA) to ease frustration level.