A few years ago at NTPRS, Mike Peto convinced me to start a Free Voluntary Reading program. Ever since then, I have implemented it in various classes with varying success. I managed to encourage my level 5 students to read a whole novel of their choice last year. With my other classes, it has been hard to implement it as successfully. I would just do FVR once a week, and it seemed hard to get any consistency. This trimester with my level 3, I was ready to change my methods.
Then Mike asked me if I would review his book Pleasure Reading in the World Language– and I knew that this would be the key for me to implement my FVR program successfully.
Before picking up this book, I would encourage you to read a few posts by Mike. Mike discusses a few terms that are useful to know ahead of time. He defines them throughout the book, but I found it helpful to understand the context before reading. One in particular is One Word Image or OWI. Mike has written a comprehensive blog post detailing how to create OWIs in class. While he goes into some detail in the book, I believe that by reading this blog post before reading the book, it will help you understand the book even more.
Throughout the book, Mike is very frank about the importance of time for FVR. If you are on the fence, he will convince you as he convinced me many years ago at NTPRS. He has combined research with anecdotes of successes and times he has struggled with students. This honesty is extremely helpful as many teachers myself included want this to be a successful venture every time.
However, I learned a lot of new, great ideas throughout the book as well even though I have heard Mike talk before about FVR. I really liked the idea of book clubs that Tina mentions in one of the chapters that she writes in the book. Mike also explains how to make your library more visible. While I have made changes in my library to make it function better, I need to make it even more visible. I can’t wait to do that with my level 1 class when they start reading.
The one caveat that Mike includes in the book is how expensive it is to develop a strong reading library. While in the book, Mike lists ways to develop your own library, the key is to have a large selection of novels for students. You may want to start on building your own library before you get started reading. Viviana has posted on ways to extend your FVR library in Spanish for free. Allison has also blogged about how to get started as well.
After reading this book, I felt even more inspired to continue with FVR in my classes! I had really waffled about a way to keep follow-up low-key. It is hard to straddle the line between wanting students to read and use their time wisely and wanting them to truly find a love for reading which is what Mike advocates. Finally, this book gave me a great can-do spirit and attitude to keep up with FVR. After reading this, I started anew with FVR with my 3s and many of them wanted to keep reading after we were done!
Thank you to Mike for providing me a copy with this book! If you are looking to implement a FVR program (which will greatly improve your language program), I recommend picking up THIS book as well!