In my Spanish I classes we have worked our way up to doing sustained silent reading for 15 minutes.  We started at 3 minutes and have gradually inched our way up.  We read on Mondays at the beginning of class and sometimes on Wednesdays or Thursdays if we need a break, but those are usually for shorter periods of time.

Students select the reading material from the classroom library and sit back down to read. They can choose whatever they like.  Now that the time is 15 minutes and they realize that the expectation is reading, they actually read–it is just too hard to fake it for that long.

Choose a Decent Book Already!

We are getting more consistent results the longer the reading program goes, but what amazes me is that even after all of this time, there are still students that struggle finding something good to read.

Dr. Krashen told us that, “it takes a while for students to select a book”  (The Power of Reading, p. 3), but some are still struggling after months of doing this.  More and more students are getting to know the materials available in the room and their own likes and dislikes, but a certain number of students still do not seem to get it.  They too often appear to choose just any old thing rather than sticking with my continual advice to find something interesting and comprehensible, but mainly interesting (See the Reading Log on the Free Stuff page of this website  Scroll down to the HOW TO CHOOSE A BOOK poster for advice on how to help students choose good reading material).

Here are a some examples of reading misses from recent SSR Mini-Reports by my Spanish I students.  This report is a form of limited accountability that students fill out quickly after they have read.  It is mainly a three sentence reaction to their reading.

Choosing a book that is too far above their reading level:

“I read Viva el Toro.  Ana esta en Mexico, pero en el rodeo ella tiene un novio.”  (This student understood a bit, but not much.  This is a Blaine Ray novel for the end of level II and it was too much for this student at this time.  She is SpEd and doesn’t ever get much.  I need to coach her better on what to choose.)

“I read Ray Herodes.  Scientists and other people found different civilizations in a place called Arquitecto.”  (This was a Mexican comic book.  This student understood nothing, which is troubling to me because he does this all the time–just picks up any old thing.  It may be because he is a poor reader in English and feels he cannot possibly succeed.  I need to help him select something, but I forget.)

Choosing a book that is too easy because they are just playing the game:

“I read about different animales in the little yellow Larkin books.  Also how they draw other animals in the story.  This is what I read.”  (How lame is this? This kid is bright, but chooses these super simple picture books almost every time.  Students have to write three sentences about what they have read, so he just stretched out his non-comments. He got 2 out of 10 possible points.)

Choosing a book that is too easy by mistake:

“I read Hablo Espanol.  The book was short and simple.  It was boring because it was just about a little bear talking about his family.  But I learned a few new words.” (This  was an extremely bright girl that chose just one book and it was not appealing to her.  I always tell them to choose more than one book in case they choose a dud.  Better luck next time, chica.)

I will talk about the successes next time.