NTPRS: Day 4

Whew!  I was a little beat yesterday to write a post.  Today, I wanted to specifically blog about Mike Peto’s session about FVR (free voluntary reading).  He will be posting the presentation on his blog later.  He has also posted a lot before about FVR.  I was truly a skeptic.  We have FVR in school, and many kids hate it.  They stare at a page (or two) for 30 minutes.  Or they try to study.  Or they try to get away with talking.  Ugh.  I thought- how am I supposed to turn these kids who hate reading in English into Spanish readers?!  After his presentation, I feel like it is totally possible and that I HAVE to do it next year.  Here is how I am going to do it:

  1. First, you must get a classroom library.  TPRS readers are wonderful.  Some other books that he recommends are Scholastic readers about dinosaurs or planets.  These have a lot of cognates, so they are easy for students to read.  He also recommends Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Captain Underpants.  Bad books are books that are targeted to teens (Hunger Games, Narnia etc.)  These are too difficult for students.
  2. Second, start small.  Start with five minutes a few days a week.  I thought, I can do that!  How many times do I have a few minutes left at the end of class?  (I see y’all who post about this on Pinterest! Secret: I do too!)  My students would not feel threatened to read for 5 minutes.
  3. Allow students to stop reading a book if they do not like it.  I just did this with a book that I am reading in English.  I was not clicking with the characters, so I just stopped.
  4. Finally, here is the biggest point that I will let Mike point out:IMG_2018

You have to read too!

Finally, a few other details that will help.  Mike gives his students grades on whether or not they read.  His follow up is to have students talk to each other about what they are reading (in English) or have them write about what they are reading (in Spanish).  He alternates weeks with this.  He also has a sign that says Your teacher is reading… with the book that he is reading.  I have to say that I am a total believer in this now.  It seems really doable!  I hope that you feel the same way.  Here are more posts about it if you want more details.

Edited to add: Here is Mike’s presentation to read more!

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7 thoughts on “NTPRS: Day 4

  1. Wow…wonderful post. I’m an adult learner (English speaker) self-learning Spanish. I’m probably not your typical blog reader, but I find your blog posts very helpful.

    When I first started out, everyone was recommending reading Harry Potter which I quickly realized was ridiculous. It’s nice to see more appropriate reading level books being recommended.

    IMHO, TPRS readers are BORING and REPETITIVE, but I was very proud that I could read them. They gave me the confidence to transition from picture books to chapter books. However, that doesn’t change the fact that TPRS readers are boring and repetitive. 🙂

    Personally, I enjoy the magic school bus series in Spanish. And, some of my favorite chapter books are the Rita Robinson series by Mikel Valverde. They are not translations which I think makes them even better. And, I agree dinosaur books are fun. I’m going to have to try reading some books on planets.

    • Thanks so much for reading! I think it is awesome that you are reading my blog to learn Spanish! I agree about Harry Potter! I tried to read Harry Potter, and it was hard for me. There are a lot of “magic” words that I had to look up, and I knew most of the other words surrounding them. I also remember reading a few lines and thinking that is a really funny way to say this translation. I agree that TPRS books can be a bit repetitive. Mike suggests starting with the level 3 readers from TPRS Publishing which may be more interesting to you. They are also more geared to teenagers, so I am sure some of them do seem a bit juvenile. I just picked up La Hija del Sastre which everyone raves about. Thanks for the Magic Schoolbus Suggestions. I am going to look into them. Have you gone to the Scholastic Warehouse Sales? They have some throughout the year, and many people recommended some of those books, too.

  2. Hey Maris, it has been a pleasure chatting with you this week… I never guessed that you came in as a skeptic, but I am really surprised that your school forces kids to read that long when they are clearly not engaged. I have an extra copy of the SSR handbook with me (I bought one right before the conference to refresh my memory), I´ll bring it in tomorrow and if we bump into each other then it is yours.

    • I have enjoyed meeting you too! I should also add that my students must read a novel. A newspaper or magazine is not acceptable. (This part really frustrates me. We did SSR in Vista and many boys brought in the sports section, and I was happy to see them reading that!) I am so excited about FVR that I am going to figure out how to drag my books between my three rooms including out to a portable, but I am going to do it!

  3. Pingback: Goals for 2015-2016 | Maris Hawkins

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