It’s About Reading

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8 thoughts on “It’s About Reading”

  1. It’s a bit funny to read one post saying how it is all about the readings, right next to another one talking about ditching the readings to add on to the stories on Wednesday.

    I am wondering how you structure the Wed/Thurs reading days. You say Wednesday reading and Thursday embedded reading, but I am unsure exactly what you mean by that.

    At the workshop this summer we were taught that Wed/Thursday were the reading days, but if I remember correctly Wed. was working back with more PQA, or setting up of the reading. (I don’t have it in front of me).

    In any case, I feel that reading is so crucial as well. For my visual learners, they just really latch on to having the words in front of them. My problem is keeping the extended reading “in bounds”, as I put it all in the past and the wacky looking forms throw them off. If it were present they would have no problem, but I really want to hammer the past with them since they didn`t get any of it last year in their 1st year.

    1. I find it difficult to do a reading, the same reading, two days in a row. I really need to learn more about this embedded reading idea. I”ve read a little bit on it but didn’t really understand.

      I have to admit that I LOVE reading days, though. Why? They’re easy and relaxed. I watched one of the DPS videos and it was Joe Dziedzic doing a reading. He was sitting in a nice comfy armchair and it was so relaxed. When we do extended readings based on the previous day’s story, I pass out the reading, sit on my stool and we just read, discuss and add unknown details to the story. My students don’t like reading, they find it extremely boring (which is why I find it hard to do a reading for 2 days), but I dont care. The reading is good for them and it’s about our mental health and I find reading days to be EXTREMELY beneficial to my mental health because I can just relax, sit down and read with my students.

    2. Not really on the Wed. stories vs. reading thing. Let me be more clear. One thing we want in our teaching is flexibility. For me that means that, as long as I am doing either listening input or reading input, I am making best use of my time.

      So on Friday I go with the novel option as an end to the week. But during the first four day sequence, a really great story may not want to be put aside and then I keep it going as a kind of embedded speaking class. This doesn’t happen very often but it is an option. In that case I would forego the novel option on Friday for two days of excellent reading.

      It IS all about reading, but I am not married to any one schedule. I have a basic weekly schedule but that’s it – as long as it is about half listening and half reading, that is the best. If that’s not clear that’s the best I can do – it’s an apparent contradiction, that’s all.

      …we were taught that Wed/Thursday were the reading days…

      The thing is Wednesday is a very flexible day. I can lean toward more speaking if I want, or more reading. Moreover, this is only what I do. I am and never wanted to lay some kind of program/curriculum here, just share what I am doing and see what others are doing. There is never one way to do it.

      And the phrase “we were taught” is not what we do here. We share ideas. That’s it. This is not a method, but a fluid moving thing that reflects different light patterns to each of us. It is an approach that we all do in our own ways – definitely not a method where we teach people how to “do it”.

      This is a mosh pit of ideas, really. Jump in. Bounce around. Take what you want. Leave the rest. The level and speed of change we are in is not going to be very tidy. So I appreciate the opportunity to make this point.

  2. When you read, are you just reading the same exact story that they told the day before? I have been trying to make a longer, different story using the vocabulary that is inbounds for my kids. That is obviously a lot more work for me. Is that unnecessary? It just seems to me that yeah, it would be quite boring for the kids to rehash the same story. Dunno. I would love to hear more because I do think reading is super important and that is one aspect of the method I don’t have a good handle on at all.

    1. It depends on what I feel like. Last year, every reading was basically the same story from the day before. This year I’m changing some details, using different students, making the reading “the same, but different”. I do try to extend the readings a little bit by adding in some extra details, putting in extra repetitions (ex. instead of just saying that John wants a purple elephant from Antarctica, we also say that a few other kids DON’T want that, instead they want ___), maybe putting in a new, easy structure that is either a cognate or something that we’ve TPR’ed.

      I, too, think that it’s an aspect of the method that I don’t have a good handle on but I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere with reading.

    2. If you want a very detailed description of what an embedded reading looks like, you can find it on Laurie’s blogs: and
      In the latter (heartsfor…..), you should search for “embedded reading” in the advanced search. Laurie gives a completely “idiot-proof” (that’s how I need it) step-by-step explanation on how to create embedded stories – and so much more. Go check it out.
      Btw, Ben, didn’t you used to have a list of links to other blogs/sites on the right side of your page? It’s not there anymore, what happened to it?

  3. If anyone is curious what an embedded reading might look like IN ENGLISH, I can supply you with one of my scripts ( Most of my scripts are accompanied by an embedded version, so instead of the original 3-4 structures, there will be 5-7 structures in the embedded version (only 2-3 new ones).

    I’ve got to say, this is the first year I’ve taught with CI in which I feel like I’ve got enough reading material that, if I didn’t want to (but I still do), I wouldn’t barely have to write anything new, because I can use old stories from similar scripts or that contain the same structure(s). So, my 5th year doing this, I finally feel I’ve accumulated enough CI reading material for my classes. It’s SUCH a relief. I am constantly this year digging out past stories, and going through the same process as I would with an original story (illustrating, translating, CLOZE, listen for comprehension (that’s where the recording a la Garageband comes in handy), discuss, act out, whatever. If you’ve got a written parallel story at your disposal, you can fill a whole nother day of your week with reading.

    Keep all your readings! Organize them effectively in your own way, so you know where to find it when you want it. I use folders on my desktop (computer), and I organize them according to the year and class, because I remember just about all the stories I’ve written for each group and which structures were included. Just a suggestion.

    And to David re your question “When you read, are you just reading the same exact story that they told the day before?” I would say it depends on the group and how your feel and how busy you are. I have a super quiet group of 9th graders this year, and although I’m still asking stories with them, I’ve decided to not rely on them yet, so what I’m doing is writing MY version of the story and relying on that, until they prove to me they can come up with some good stuff on their own. (But they’re a strange group, the kind that would rather do a worksheet than have a discussion, even in English or so I’ve heard from other teachers.) Like Ben says, no rules, just processes, and they’re bound to change daily in each of us, so don’t hold on too tight to any of it (except SLOW and Comprehensible and Personalization, those are fundamental to what we do).

    And one question to all: Does anyone remember the post that under which we were brainstorming ways to read with our classes, strategies I mean, to keep it fresh so to speak? It was last Spring sometime I believe. Michele, I think you said you printed the post and comments, maybe you have the name of the post?

  4. I’ve been doing reading classes all day today and I feel it has been going well. Their engagement and translations have been impressive. I just have a few questions about the basics. First, let me say this is how I have been doing it: 1) Students read a small paragraphs silently. 2) Students listen to me reading the paragraph out loud with laser pointer focusing on the words. 3) Students chorally translate the paragraph to the rhythm of the laser pointer.

    What comes next, is what is confusing me….Do I do the pop-up grammar as students are chorally translating? I find that it sometimes NEEDS to happen when the word order is so different to English that the kids are stumped and no one says anything BUT it breaks the flow of their translation, which I don’t like. Do I do pop-up grammar per paragraph or should we chorally translate the whole she-bang and THEN go back for pop-up grammar moments? What say you all????

    (P.S. I understand there is no one RIGHT WAY but it does help to hear the opinions and not knowing what to do after my step 3 is making me feel all goofy and gangly.)

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