August 28, 2012 by Megan
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
My favorite station to plan for and have in class in a reading station. There are so many authentic readings available thanks to the internet. Even without a lot of resources, I can find something that relates to any unit or topic I teach. Reading helps students pick up new vocabulary (because they see it in context) and start to recognize important patterns (verbs, spelling, word order). It is so important that students get input from reading and listening, before we expect them to produce the language with writing or speaking.
Students generally tell me that they do NOT like reading. A few do, but most of my students don’t. I take this as a challenge. It’s not that they don’t like reading, they just usually don’t like being forced to read textbooks or novels that they aren’t interested in. I believe that it is VERY important to give your students options. They will be much more motivated to read when they find something that interests them.
Here are some options for reading sources…
Books (Children’s books are a huge hit for my classes. If you don’t have TL books, reserve some from your public library. I got about 60 books and we had a 2 day reading marathon one year. Kids got comfortable, I played quiet music, and they loved it. My dream is to have a TL library at the school to share with the whole department!)
I subscribe to People en Espanol, Mujer, and ESPN Deportes. A student’s mom works at a doctor’s office and she also donated about 100 copies of the magazine Padre’s. I also have picked up a few on vacation and I always ask friends to buy a few if they travel to a Spanish-speaking country. I bought a gaming magazine in Costa Rica – it seemed weird to me but a few of my students LOVED this! Magazines are great for novice readers because they are full of pictures, advertisements, and lists. They include basic info like bios, ages, nationalities, activities, dates, days of the week, ect. Upper levels can read for main ideas and more details about specific topics – music or movie reviews, news or sports stories, celebrity drama, recipes, or health advice.
I pick up a few newspapers each time I eat at our local Mexican restaurant in town. You will see grocery ads with foods labeled, as well as sale and shopping information. You can find business advertisements with descriptions of the job, their location and contact information, and a slogan. Letters to the editor can be a great reading option too. Kara teaches an awesome lesson during her shopping unit just by giving her students coupons and letting them figure out the vocabulary.
This is a website with user Reviews and recommendations of restaurants, shopping, nightlife, entertainment, museums and more! It’s initially in English but you can change the language of the website on the bottom right corner – Spanish, French, and Italian are all available. If you’re learning about art you could print off reviews of different museums around the world. For a food unit, print off review of different restaurants around the world. They not only get language input but also get to see the world!
I use tweets are reading practice during every unit. Students can relate to it and you can find people talking about anything you could possibly want. Here are some of the tweets I showed during our “Daily Routine” unit.
Pick up to-go menus or find them online. Since they are working in a station, you will only need a few of them. Give them a task. Let them figure out their favorite foods or have them learn to describe a meal. Maybe they can try to find different adjectives describing the food.
ESPN or UNIVISION
Another good thing for students to read is a TV guide. Good novice practice for date and time! Print out a few different options and you have a great station!
I was once told that you can use any text for any level – what differs is what you expect them to do with it. Great advice. If you understand proficiency levels you have an idea of what novice students can do vs. what an intermediate student can do. I want students to READ while at the station – not just fill out forms and answer questions. However, a small task seems to help students stay on task and feel successful.
Food packaging, flyers, junk mail, Facebook profiles, cooking instructions, receipts, surveys and SO MUCH MORE!
Here are some activities for students to do while at the reading station.
- Fill out a form – main idea and 2 details
- Make a list (favorite foods, activities listed, description words)
- Write a tweet that could fit in with the ones you read
- List 10 new cognates
- Describe a museum you read about -Where is it? What will you see there?
- Underline WHO is talked about in the article
- Circle WHAT they are doing
- Put a box around WHEN - any references to time
- Give them a quick 2 question quiz the last 2 minutes (leave answers for them to check themselves! )
So there you have it! Hope there was a new idea here for you today!
Remember… Mix it up each week so there is something different when they go to the reading station. Make sure it’s connected to what you are learning. Give them options to choose from. Have a short task to complete after reading.
All of a sudden students won’t be dreading the reading station and they can learn without you or a vocab list! A teacher’s dream!
P.S. If you have any other great reading sources, please share them with us below! We would love to hear about it!