Interpretive Reading Assessments for Novels

interpretive reading novels

As I continue to balance how I assess novels and how I implement IPAs, I have played around with how I assess how students interpret the vocabulary that students are acquiring as well as the novel itself.  For my upper levels, I typically could find an article that included a lot of the culture that we were covering in the book.  This was particularly easy for books like Frida and Vector.  However, I couldn’t do the same in my lower level classes.  I really wanted to see what vocabulary that they were acquiring and not so much discrete facts from the book.  In the past, I have searched for a story that re-used many of the words from the story that would be new for my students.  That would be somewhat successful, and I was able to see what words and ideas that my students were really acquiring.  However, it also would take a lot of time on my part to search (or create!) the story.  I also like to give a practice run of their assessments to reduce anxiety and surprise, so I would have to find a story for the practice and a story for the assessment.  That took even longer!

My level 1 students are reading La Familia de Federico Rico.  I had been putting off giving a reading assessment because I was dreading searching for TWO new stories.  Then, I decided to try a new approach (which was perhaps the obvious approach from the beginning-HA!)  I selected a paragraph worth of sentences from a chapter to rewrite.  I tried to represent a good part of the chapter, so students could use this for the comprehension and key word identification.  However, I also left out key details in the paragraph.

Then, I asked students to write two more details in Spanish that weren’t included in the paragraph.  I like this part because it is still testing their comprehension/interpretation of the chapter.  They cannot rewrite any fact that I have written.  It is also open-ended enough for them not to have to recall nitty gritty facts of the book.  While I like interpretive assignments, I like interpretive assessments that require students to apply what they have read/heard even more.  I told them that they could add on facts that occurred after the paragraph, but I wanted their facts to be related to the paragraph and not a completely different part of the book.

On this assessment, I ideally would use three paragraphs from the beginning, middle and end of the book.  I had some students leaving early, so I stuck with two this time.  #reality  However, it was SO much easier than spending 3/4 of my prep looking for a story just to quickly write up some questions.

How do you assess interpretive reading during novels?


2 thoughts on “Interpretive Reading Assessments for Novels

  1. I just started working with a novel. I chose Peter Va a Colombia for my Spanish 2 (I know is level 1). I do different activities, but the one I’ve seen has worked better is, giving sentences from the chapter to students and ask them to illustrate it. After that, I switch the drawings and sentences and the whole group has to match them.

    I also just work with questions in Spanish expecting the answer in Spanish, with or without open book. Sometimes I ask in English and ask for the answer in Spanish.

    I am learning, trying and failing. But I have liked working with this novel, also because I am Colombian 🙂

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