Ahem… er… well… Nope. They want to learn and they will read if we encourage and equip them.
This is the book check out list from our classroom library for the second full week of school. 23 books checked out so far. Most of these kids are level 1 Spanish students with no exposure to the language before this school year. They have learned many of the high frequency verbs that are in the novels with classical TPR so far and we have done 8 “Persona Especial” interviews, but that’s about it, besides three useful “Passwords”. They have had four sessions of Sustained Silent Reading of 5 to 7 minutes each in class where they picked what they wanted to read, so they are beginning to know the materials and beginning to get some confidence that they can actually read in Spanish. During these brief SSR sessions I have modeled the importance of of it every time by sitting in front of them and just reading. What I am encouraging is “Light Reading”: reading because you want to. No tests. No credit. Just because it’s cool and it’s interesting.
This is what I said today to encourage and challenge them:
“You already know that I will not leave anyone behind in this class. If you are slower at getting Spanish right now, that’s OK, you’ll get there. I was very slow at processing language when I was your age. Later on I became a rock star in Spanish and soaked it up like a sponge when the time was right. But I want to challenge everyone to learn as much as they can in this class. Just like I will not allow struggling students to drown in the language, I do not want you to cruise if you are getting it right now. I want you to challenge yourself to learn as much as you can. We are not going to play the school boy and school girl game in here, where you just do the minimum to get an “A”. I want you to see how much you can learn, not how little. This is a three day weekend. If you think you will have some extra time, I challenge you to check out a book and read it. Just come back and tell me about it, I would love to hear about your experience with the book. If you feel like you aren’t understanding things quickly enough, reading on your own will also help you a ton, too. Now everybody please go to the classroom library and get two or three books to look at right now for 7 minutes. If you like one and want to read more of it, you can check it out at the end of class.”