Reading Idea

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12 thoughts on “Reading Idea”

  1. Steven Ordiano

    With the invisibles, there is much more reason to do stories. In retrospect, my students were into it, it’s just that they hold back because they come from rigorous, imagination killing schools — some since elementary where science, math and non-fiction texts dominate.

  2. Hmm. Reading is our secret second language weapon. We acquired much of our L1 before we could read, with thousands of hours of listening. We don’t come close to those hours of listening, so I think reading is quite important for a second language.

    At our regional Classical conference today, a very CI-savvy presenter mentioned that we have a thing or two to teach our modern language colleagues when it comes to Interpretive Reading.

    I think what he meant is that because reading Latin is the only garaunteed form of input, students can continue reading Latin when they go off into the world. Can all those students who will never visit France still enjoy a French novel if reading is given the back seat?

    1. I love you, Lance.

      I back off in my French class, because there are so few books available, but with ESL, I go over-board on reading.

      My number one job as an ESL teacher -above all else- is to connect books and students. Secondarily, I teach English.

      My favorite trick is to read the first book in a series and stop. Cliff-hanger or not, we don’t go on. I do hunt down extra copies of books 2-10 in the library for them to check out and read on their time.

      1. PS: My current obsession is graphic novels. For beginners, I use wordless graphic novels where I add ability-appropriate text. For intermediate/advanced students I just use “regular” graphic novels.

  3. I love wordless graphic novels. I’ve been using The Arrival in one to one situations, but now I’ve scanned the pages so I can use it with classes. I project a page and we talk about what we see, ask quesitons, guess, etc. Then I ask them to retell what we see, and I type their sentences up on the screen (silently editing when necessary) occasionally using a pop-up to point out something they need to notice. When we’ve finished we have a text that they can read, 100% comprehensible, since it’s their own words.

  4. I’ve long felt that Ben’s delineation of things here is right on. Ideally. It’s certainly what I’ve tended toward the last 8 years.

    However, based on two somewhat disengaged and non-responsive groups I’ve had this year (when compared to former years), wondering if more reading might be helpful in early levels with certain groups like this that need more of a concrete element and “reason” to engage. I moved to a second school half-time this year and have noticed a pretty big difference in what they require in order to feel engaged as students. And perhaps a bigger reason for the disengagement from these groups… an underlying hostility toward each other. For this, reading can be more objective and silent and therefore more comforting to kids who feel other students judging them.

    I love the wordless graphic novel idea Judy!

    1. “…certain groups like this that need more of a concrete element…”

      Exactly. I keep slamming my head against a brick wall trying to “engage” kids who are not in a place where they can engage in the way I am trying to make them. So…dictado & reading & worksheets for them. I always forget that some groups need a super visible “thing” or task to complete. Like a puppy. Just having some “thing” to work with made a huge difference with one of my groups.

      Mental health 🙂

      1. Amen! I’ve been cycling between 10 minute PQA, dictation, and reading worksheets with my snarky 8th graders. They dig right into reading worksheets and the occasional free write. Usually we play Silent Ball as well to further keep their negativity to themselves. 😀

  5. I think the really important sentiment here is that we should deliver CI in whatever mode is working for us and our students. We should feel free to adapt the stories to reading ratio as we see fit.

    I am also trying to follow Ben’s lead more by letting my own mental health play a role in whether we read or do stories on a given day. Today I was feeling really disengaged and unfocused, so I opted to do a reading class rather than force a story.

    There is no reason to be hard on ourselves in this work. I, like many others, was providing almost 0% comprehensible input a few years ago. We will always strive to get better, but we must stop on occasion and remember how far we have already come.

  6. i find my tone gets snippy and cloying when I’ve ‘had it.’ Like sometimes with my poor exhausted lil 1st graders – last 3 classes of the week!
    On those Friday afternoons, I tend to do some kind of drawing/illustration activity with the lights off.
    They just can’t listen any more at that point. I see the relief in their eyes when they don’t have to attend like the troopers they are, the rest of the week.

  7. Ben, I like the idea you hint at of a continuum in which ratios move from 80:20 to 20:80, depending on various factors. These include experience level and age of learners, preferences of the class (speakers vs readers), time of year, etc.

  8. Ben, I have noticed that my Spanish 3 class doesn’t light up with stories as my younger classes and can really see wisdom in the ratios being swapped at this level. But, could you please clarify what 80% reading might look like in a high school, level 3 class. Would that reading consist mostly of novels? What other sources might I use?

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