Yes. This is the book check out form for the first three full days of school. Eight students have asked to check out books and take them home to read. Most of the students are from level 1 classes. Mighty proud of these kids. Here’s how it happens:
1) Books. There is a large and wide selection of reading materials available that are within the range of even beginning learners.
2) Vocabulary. Students have picked up several high frequency verbs from the classic TPR and Special Person interviews we have already done in class. They are excited and feel empowered. They feel like they can get this Spanish stuff.
3) Time. We have had two five minute sustained silent reading times so far. Those times have been followed with requests for reactions. Kids are shocked and proud that they are understanding some things already and they are eager to share.
4) Modeling. The teacher sits and reads when the kids read. This is a crucial step that many teachers leave out of class reading time. The teacher must show that reading is valued and important on a personal level. If the teacher is not an enthusiastic reader, the reading bug will not spread to the students.
5) Attention. When a student starts browsing in a “chapter book” they get attention. I ask students what they understood and some give a synopsis.
6) Smart is OK. I flat out state several times and in different ways that it is OK to be a reader in this class. I let them know that I think being smart is cool. If they are not readers and don’t feel smart I can help them get there.
7) No credit. This is extremely important. Students get no credit and no extra credit for checking out books and reading at home. They are doing this because they want to learn Spanish. They are not doing it for a grade. They are reading because it is OK to want to learn in my classes.
Level 1 students can read and want to read. They just need some encouragement and help.
Stay strong, my friends. Ignorance only wins if we give up.