When we assign reading to students there is always a nagging suspicion that some of them will be fudging their answers when it comes to reporting what and how much they have read. They may exaggerate or out-and-out lie about the reading they have done. Typical teacher questions about verifying student reading are:
• How do we grade reading assignments?
• How do we know that students have actually read?
• How can we tell if students have understood what they have read?
• When there are so many options available (online translation programs, English versions, summaries, other students, etc.), how can students prove that they have actually read the book in the target language?
• How can students prove that they have done the work of reading on their own and that they have not just watched a movie of the book?
Here are some ideas that have worked for me:
Ramp up your Expectations Gradually: Many students are not accustomed to reading novels. Many are not expected to read in other classes or at home. Reading for pleasure may be a foreign concept to them—especially the idea of reading in another language! So go slow. Gradually but inexorably increase the amount you expect students to read throughout the school year. If you go slowly they will adjust. By the mile it’s a trial; by the inch it’s a cinch.
Model Reading: Read when students are reading in class. Just sit there and read. Do not give in to the temptation to grade a few papers, check your email, straighten up the classroom or even answer student questions during reading time. Show that reading is important and pleasurable by your own example. A study by reading expert Jim Trelease indicated […]