Friday, October 19, 2012

Interactive Reading

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My Spanish 1 students are reading the book Piratas, written by Mira Canion and Carol Gaab.  I have pre-taught the high-frequency vocabulary words in each chapter before we read the chapter using various activities and methods.  Therefore, it took us 3 weeks to read 3 chapters. I decided that this week we were going to read 3 chapters, possibly 4 if I make a little adjustment to my lesson plans.

In an effort to vary the way we read those 3 chapters this week, I planned a different reading method for each chapter.  

- Chapter 4 - Projected the discussion questions from The Teacher's Treasure Chest (CD available to purchase packed full of ideas and materials) onto the white board.  As we read the chapter together, I paused to read and point out the questions, plus I added some some questions to personalize it, and the students answered verbally.  

- Chapter 5 - Students chose a partner and read the chapter in English with their partner. I walked around the classroom as they were reading to help with any words that they didn't know.  Many times, if a student asks me what something means, I write it on the board in Spanish and English because undoubtedly another student will have the same question.  Students answered 5 comprehension questions about the chapter when they finished reading.

- Chapter 6 - The INTERACTIVE READING activity.  This was my favorite.  It was the first time I tried this to the extent that we did it today, and it made the reading very enjoyable.  The full description is on a document embedded below in case anyone is reading Piratas and has use for it, but the activity can be used for any reading. 

1. I wrote about 18 words on the board.  The students knew the majority of the words but there were a few that were new.  
2. For 4 of the words, I asked 4 students to sketch the word on a 10 x 13 paper.  
3. For the other words, I had predetermined motions and/or sounds to represent them.  
4. We sat in a circle (with no desks - they have been pushed to the back and side of the room for the last 3 weeks) and I asked for volunteers to hold the sketches and for the gestures.  
5. After practicing the motions, I read the story and the students listened carefully so they knew when it was time for them to participate.


The students enjoyed this activity, some hamming it up more than others.  I'm fortunate in that, for the most part, my students are ready to participate in these types of activities which makes it easier and more fun for everyone involved.  For my second Spanish 1 class of the day, I had the students find a partner and read through the chapter in English.  The students had an easy time reading since they had already seen it "acted out" during the Interactive Reading.

I plan on reading at least one other book with the Spanish 1 students before the semester ends in January, so if you have some reading activities that you're particularly fond of, I'd love to hear about them.



  1. I.Love.This!!! I'm going to adapt it to my Isabelle book as we work through the last 5 chapters but I'm stealing it for PIrates too!

  2. I'm new to the TPRS approach, so please pardon the question if it turns out to be a silly one.

    You wrote:
    Chapter 5 - Students chose a partner and read the chapter in English with their partner.

    Why did the students read the chapter in English? Is the book written in English or Spanish? The cover is in Spanish, so I was assuming the content is Spanish (or maybe bilingual).

    Thank you for helping me out,

  3. JSM
    I apologize for taking so long to reply. The book is written in Spanish and the students read the it in English, so I know that they understand it. Also, I don't ask them to read aloud in Spanish very much at the beginning level because I want them to have an incredible amount of input hearing the language pronounced correctly, by me or native speakers, to lessen mispronunciations by them when they finally do read aloud.

  4. I love this idea, and have bookmarked it for future use! I'm planning on using Piratas with my Spanish 1 class either this year or next year for the first time. Do you have any additional resources/ideas besides what is available in the Teacher's Resource Guide? Anything you can pass on would be much appreciated! Thanks, Cynthia!

  5. Replies
    1. You are welcome, Lauren.
      Thanks for reading. :-)