Bryce’s book on teaching reading, Hi-Impact Reading Strategies, is filled with ideas, research findings, trade secrets, assessments and tips on how to make your reading program successful. It includes a complete index and a special Spanish section. And we have lowered the price:

The soft cover was $49.99. Now $39.99. Get is here.

The eBook was $39.99. Now $29.99. Get it here.

Index for this page:

  • 1. Top Reading Resources
  • 2. High Interest Easy Readers – in many languages
  • 3. How to Do Sustained Silent Reading – includes several samples of Focused Reading Book Reports
  • 4. How to Read Aloud to Students
  • 5. How to Do Whole Class Reading

Possibly the most important resource on this page is this list of Important Verbs, which shows how students can begin to read in the target language earlier than most would suspect.



Memes and Quotes to Encourage Reading  Here is a Word format so you can download of some of the best memes and quotes to motivate students to read. Project these during independent reading time to remind and encourage students to just keep reading.

Here is an online link to the Memes and Quotes to Encourage Reading.

Motivational Posters  to Encourage Reading to Show in Your Virtual or Physical Classroom

HOW TO CHOOSE A BOOK  Classroom Poster to help get the idea across to students that reading has to be comprehensible and interesting. This little poster says those tow words 9 ways in kidspeak. Print out this poster and place it prominently above your classroom library, or post it every time you assign independent reading in your virtual classroom to remind students how to pick a book. Self-Selected Reading or Free Voluntary Reading is different than most of the reading that kids are asked to do in school, so they will need guidance.

SSR Reading Poster for your  classroom. It clearly describes the expectations during sustained silent reading time. Put one on all four walls of your classroom, if need be! There should also be positive motivational posters, plus your support, encouragement and guidance, but this can help.


Sometimes you need a rubric to clearly spell out the expectations of students during independent reading time. When they’re being resistant or ornery, this has worked for me: Independent Reading Rubric.

This rubric is framed in terms of the interpretive mode–the language learning mode which we tend to neglect in favor of asking students to produce the language. Have students fill out this rubric for themselves 3 times or so every 2 weeks —NOT (not, not) every time they read, but often enough to remind them until they get what you are asking them to do. Why? To save you frustration and to connect some kind of measurement to independent reading for your required gradebook, but mostly to get students to think critically about their own behavior—the highest form of thinking. You can adjust it up or down, as needed, but most students (80%) will have a sane and sober analysis of their reading behavior in your class. 10% will be too hard on themselves. 10% will be delusional. This rubric will help with all of them.

READING FOR MEANING RATHER THAN STRUGGLING TO DECODE  Use this example to get the feel of what it’s like to read above your level. It is crucial for both teachers and students to know. World language students are often put in a situation where they are reading far above their ability level. This forces them to focus on the code  instead of reading for meaning. We absolutely want students to read authentic materials. They will get there sooner with the scaffolding provided by vocabulary-controlled readers. When students are reading a novel a week on their own they will be able to read authentic materials soon enough. Force them to read only authentic materials right from the start and most will give up.

READING AS SUFFICIENT PREP FOR THE AP TEST  Oklahoma teacher Darcy Pippins prepared her Spanish AP students for the test by reading and discussing texts – mostly in class. Here results were explained and analyzed by Stephen Krashen. Turns out reading is sufficient.


Secure Online Reading in Spanish, French, English, Latin & more languages 

Find free reading materials on Storylabs, an online library for language learning. Access their free materials here: The stories on Storylabs have accompanying audio, online and printable activities, as well as usage tracking so teachers can hold their students accountable. The text of these stories cannot be copied, pasted or downloaded, so as to prevent students from copying and pasting into a translator. They carry novels in Spanish, English, French and Latin.

Log in at  (case sensitive, use lower case); class code: student; password: demo.  Students can read and listen to native speakers reading the books aloud. There are also games and activities for each reading. Their publishing system is free, and when users create content they can share it with colleagues, or even sell it.

• Chinese

Reed Riggs, Ph.D.: See his online store, which includes short stories, graphic novels and sci-fi novels in Chinese here and here.

Terry Waltz, PhD has many cute Chinese easy readers.

For wider selections, I highly recommend Mandarin CompanionChinese Breeze, Haiyun’s books, and Terry’s books.

• French

Bess Hayles, a successful veteran C.I. French teacher, says these are the books she uses for whole class reading in French:
Level 1Brandon Brown veut un chien by Carol Gaab, and La planète grise by Cécile Lainé, Alkinz, and Laura Shaw. This is a science fiction graphic novel. My Latin students really like the Latin translation of this book (even though it is missing over 40 Latin words from the glossary).
Level 2 Une obsession dangereuse, by Theresa Marrama, and Le Manoir de la Dentiste, a graphic novel by Jim Wooldridge, aka Señor Wooley.

Level 3La statue, and La révolution françaiseby Diane Touchet

Level 4/5Le horla by ?, Le petit prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Oscar et la dame rose, by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.
IB/AP:  Because she has to do authentic readings for IB she says they’ve also done an easy version of Arsène lupin, by Maurice Leblanc (Icarsus Publishing).

• Japanese 

Japanese teacher Betsy Watson, Ed.D., recommends graded readers in Japanese from these companies:

ASK Publishing. There are 5 levels and many readers, 4-6 per level

Cheng and Tsui is another company that sells Japanese books.

• Latin

Lance Piantaggini / Magister P has written scores of books for Latin students. Some of his books have unique word counts as low as 20 (!?).

Latin books for higher levels compiled by Magister P.

Andrew Olimpi / Comprehensible Classics has a growing selection of simplified Latin readers. Most are based on Roman mythology.

Rachel Beth Cunning, at Bombax Press, is a marvelous author of vocabulary-controlled Latin books.

See this list of recommended Latin readers, sorted by level, unique word count and total word count.

• Russian

Recommendations from Alaska Russian teacher and ACTFL National Teacher of the Year Finalist, Michele Whaley:

Russian is a very difficult language for finding novice to intermediate novels.  Here’s a good one:

Утро: A Comprehensible Story for Learners of Russian, by Michele Whaley

This is a sweet story about a Russian boy who gets a magical matryoshka (set of nesting Russian dolls) for his birthday. It is better for at least a second-year Russian class. Available in Europe at the The CI Bookshop.

Bednaya Anya (Russian equivalent of Pobre Ana, by Blaine Ray) was a good book for late level 2 or 3 Russian students to read, but it seems to be out of print with the original publisher. You can find it in Europe here.

Michele advises: “I would stay away from most books of unsimplified fairy tales in Russian, as the vocabulary is very complex in those. There are Russian materials at this site, but you would have to look very carefully and choose comprehensible titles.”

• Spanish

We sell quality curated Spanish novels by independent authors on this website. These are authors that self-publish their books. They have no publisher to market their books. The selection of genres, authors, languages and titles in growing. Check back often to see what’s new and what your students might be attracted to.


(Also known as Independent Reading, Free Voluntary Reading, Self-Selected Reading, Free Choice Reading, etc.)

Students can begin to read on their own faster than you might think with these 8 logical steps (A-H):


The majority of speech consists of just a few verbs and function words. According to Mark Davies, in A Frequency Dictionary of Spanish (p. vii), 60% of speech uses just 50 high-frequency words. Using (and if necessary, teaching), some of those high frequency words fills students with useful language to get them ready to read. You can teach 20 or more high frequency verbs with classical TPR gesturing within the first 2 weeks of level 1 and get students reading right away.

High Frequency VerbsThis is a list of the Most Important Verbs, the verbs language learners need to know. Teach at least the 26 Essential Verbs, which are all high frequency, with classical TPR gestures in the first 2-3 weeks of level 1 to get students able to read much earlier than you might think. Thereafter, keep teaching the rest of the verbs on the list 3 at a time with TPR gestures.

Another Way to Look at High Frequency Verbs: WHAT THE TOP SPANISH VERBS CAN TEACH US   – Lists like this can remind us to use more natural language with students. Take a look and see how you can use these words with the intent of purposefully working in more of the most commonly used words, in order to help students understand.

It doesn’t always help, long-term, to use cognates for short-term understanding. I’ve regrettably found myself doing this. For example, in the past I often used necesitar (to need, as in “You need to…”) instead of deber (must/should, as in “You should…”) because the cognate necesitar was more recognizable to students. But in A Frequency Dictionary of Spanish, the word deber is a much more common verb (#75) than necesitar (#229). The result was that students, even in level 3, were sometimes not familiar with deber, a useful, high-frequency word, that occurs repeatedly in authentic speech and reading materials. It is often better to overtly teach the most commonly used words rather than to rely on cognates.

Teach Grammar as Vocabulary:  THE USUAL SUSPECTS High Frequency Verbs  – These are some of the most used verbs in Spanish. Since the most often used verbs tend to be irregular, to novices they will sound like different words. When there is no sound/meaning connection, those conjugations need to be introduced separately— but extensive conjugation charts are not necessary because students will get most of them due to exposure because they are used so often. This chart can be used to check for gaps in students’ learning in upper level classes. It can be useful for students to be consciously aware of the relationships between the various forms of high frequency verbs.

High Frequency Function Words in Spanish: PALABRAS IMPORTANTES  Function words are some of the most important vocabulary for novice language learners to know. These are the short, abstract words that carry the grammar of a sentence. I would be hesitant to overtly test students on these for a grade, but they should be familiar with these words. Take a look at this list even if you do not speak Spanish because these words are about the same set in any language.

These words should also be clear in the teacher’s mind to be sure they are being used often, particularly if you are not a native speaker. Non-native teachers tend to speak a kind of interlanguage in class with students. This can create  gaps in language usage due to skipping over some high-frequency words that would help students.

Unique Word Count: How Publishers Calculate Word Count   The unique word count in a book has a big impact on comprehensibility. It is not the only thing, but it is a factor. this article explains how publishers figure the unique word count of a text.


Students need variety. They have different abilities and interests, so they should be reading different things. This is the impetus behind developing an independent or extensive reading program. Provide plenty of reading materials that are comprehensible, interesting and (when possible) culturally relevant.

For Free Choice Reading/Free Voluntary Reading/Sustained Silent Reading try to get 5 copies of as many different titles as you can–shoot for 30 or more different titles–that way students can read what their friends are reading.


Lightly hold students accountable for their reading. Check to make sure they understand what they are reading.

Students should read every day, but you should not (not, not) assess their reading every day.

Do not check for comprehension every time they read. Of course you need to put grades in the grade book. Of course you need to hold students accountable, but don’t measure their reading all the time. If you give them a grade every time they read, you will kill the joy of reading… and soon even the enthusiastic readers will be reading only to fill out your reading report form.

When you want to check reading comprehension, occasionally use something like these:

Ping Pong Reading  This is a fun back-and-forth review that can be done once in a while. Also called volleyball reading.

READING REFLECTION – This form is short and simple and it is a helpful tool for getting students to enjoy reading — because they get to express themselves. Checking reading comprehension occasionally (once a week) corresponds to the 5 ways of assessing reading explained in Free Voluntary Reading by Stephen Krashen, and in Readicide by Kelly Gallagher. Explaining what a reading meant to you is much more enjoyable than answering detailed questions.


DUAL ENTRY READING JOURNAL  Medium level of accountability. This shows you care and are aware, but it doesn’t smother students with too many detailed questions about their reading. DO NOT use this form every time they read or students will be reading only to fill out the form and not reading for meaning like we want them to.


Spanish 1 Dual Entry Reading Journal Example: El Ekeko

Spanish 1 Dual Entry Reading Journal Example: La Chica Nueva


These book report forms are from my book Hi-Impact Reading StrategiesThere are 14 more Focused Book Report forms in the book, plus many other reading assessments.

FOCUSED BOOK REPORT #3 Minor Character Major Impact



FOCUSED BOOK REPORT #10 Three Easy Pieces

EXAMPLES of Student Work

Focused Reading Report Spanish 1 Character Change: Brandon Brown

Focused Reading Report Spanish 1 Conflict: La gran aventura de Alejandro

Focused Reading Report Sp 1 Coincidence #1

Focused Reading Report Sp 1 Coincidence #2

See Bryce’s handbook and workshop on teaching reading Hi-Impact Reading Strategies


Most students never see anyone reading for pleasure. You need to model the importance of reading by:

1) Reading with students (whole class reading),

2) Reading to students (reading aloud), and also by

3) Reading in front of students (self-selected pleasure reading).

You are  convinced of the value of reading yourself, but you are going to have to use all your persuasive tricks to get students to pick up the habit. Be explicit in demonstrating the value of reading to to your students by reading in front of them. Here are some quick tips on teaching reading to share with your students: Language Acquisition and Reading


Some students will just robotically go a grab a book, feeling that they are forced to read lie in the rest of school. You will need to explicitly teach them how to go about choosing a book that they can joyfully read for meaning. Comprehensible and interesting are the words to repeat over and over until they get it.

HOW TO CHOOSE A BOOK-Classroom Poster


Comprehensible and Interesting are the words you cannot repeat often enough. In most schools, reading has become little more than a chore to prepare students for high stakes tests. That’s not how to create enthusiastic lifetime readers, and it won’t get students to acquire language joyfully, subconsciously and fluently. When you teach students that they are supposed to be reading something that they can understand and that they enjoy, they will begin to like reading. They will begin to say things like,

“You know what, Señor? I don’t like reading in English,

but for some reason I like to read in Spanish.”

I have heard students say versions of this many times after teaching them to read for meaning and enjoyment, instead of reading because they have to, or because they think they should. Long-term, pleasure reading trumps have-to reading.

FVR/SSR Reading Rubric


Summer Reading   This is a list of books my level 3, 4 & 5 students have said they enjoyed reading in Spanish during the summer. It also explains why reading novels is important and includes reading levels for novels to help guide students into picking something comprehensible and interesting to them.


Make reading a regular part of the routine in your classroom and enforce it consistently. Schedule reading regularly in your lessons plans–and do it at the beginning of the period and not at the end, as if it were some kind of add-on.

SSR Reading Poster  Post this prominently on two or three walls of your classroom to remind everyone what Sustained Silent Reading looks like and what you expect. We’re reading here, people!

Hey! Isn’t this a bit heavy-handed and negative? Shouldn’t we gently guide students into reading positively?

It would be inappropriate if this were the ONLY poster or guidance about reading in the classroom. We need to coach students into choosing suitable materials, give them consistent time to read, and give them examples by modeling reading. But in most of life, there are both push and pull factors: practices that make us do the right thing and practices that lure us into doing the right thing; coercion and cooperation. Seems like human beings need both. I prefer cooperation over coercion, but I can see the need for both approaches. Here are the keys for productive FVR time:

Suitable Authors.  Example.  Guidance on choosing books.  Regular FVR time.  Enforce it.



Continually point out why we are reading (like, every single time they read, until they can say it to your first). Because students are not expected to read in other classes, they will be hesitant and maybe even resistant to buy in to reading. Be prepared to head off the constant question of, “Why do we always have to read?”

HOW TO CHOOSE A BOOK  Classroom Poster to get the idea of comprehensible and  interesting across to students. This little poster says it 9 ways in kid speak. Print out 4 and put one on each wall of your physical classroom, or post it every time you assign independent reading in your virtual classroom.

Why Read? Motivational Posters

Print these out, hang them around your classroom and shine your laser pointer at them when the “Why are we reading again?” questions start.

Most students will eventually get to the place where they say, “I don’t really like to read in English, but for some reason I like it in Spanish.

I’m convinced that happens because we focus on the student self-selection of interesting and comprehensible materials.

Reading Quotes w Citations  These are quotations you will want to be aware of about why reading is so important for language acquisition and how to read with students. they are from leading thinkers in world language. and also have the sources so you can look them up yourself and quote them with confidence.


Reading aloud immerses the listeners in the book. It binds them to you emotionally when you share the experience. It forms connections at a deep level as they hear our voice sharing a story that you are all immersed in. Reading aloud shares love.

Reading Aloud to Students

FAVORITE SPANISH PICTURE BOOKS These are books my students have enjoyed.


Whole class reading of a novel is efficient. It is the way most teachers begin using language learner literature. But even when all are reading the same text there can be room for differentiation. One way to differentiate with whole class reading is to allow students to read something else if they have already read the class novel. Keep them accountable with dual-entry journals, and require them to take the open-book test on the class novel.

If you are doing whole class reading, consider doing reviews in the form of competitive games like this HARRY POTTER JEOPARDY REVIEW GAME  Put only the categories and the question values on the board – the higher the value, the harder the question. Ask the questions aloud in the target language.


Here are two examples of the final assessment in a Spanish 3 class for the novel Los ojos de Carmen, by Verónica Moscoso. Students could three higher level thinking questions to write about.

Whole Class Reading Assessment Sp 3 Example #1

Whole Class Reading Assessment Sp 3 Example #2

Ping Pong Reading This is an interactive reading review activity after whole class reading that feels like a brain break to kids.


Why Use Materials & Training by Bryce Hedstrom?

Because Bryce’s materials and presentations can train your teachers in techniques that will connect with and engage students!  Teachers will be happier and students will learn more! He also offers a variety of  workshops to train teachers at all levels and in all subject areas in your department, school, district, or region. Teachers are raving about the results.


Contact Bryce today at:

Phone: 970-290-4228
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