Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tracking Reading in the Second Language Class

My World Language department continues to work towards correlating novels students read in each level and finding the best novels with which the students will have the most success. In our current curriculum, the goal is to read 2-3 books in each level, but the curriculum is fairly new, and not everyone in the department was including reading with the students three years ago.

For this reason, I created a form to help track the novels that my Spanish students have read in their language classes thus far. (Download available HERE.) My Spanish 4 students filled out the papers with information on levels 1-3 and I recollected the papers to study them to get a clearer picture on each student's reading background.  Unfortunately, depending on which teacher students had,some of my Spanish 4 students went through levels 1 and 2 before our present curriculum was written, which explains why they didn't have any books listed in levels 1 and 2.  The bottom portion is for reading that they will do on their own during SSR and outside of class.  

Books are a high priority on each year's budget because I know the importance of reading in second language acquisition.  With the books I purchased with the budget monies, along with books purchased with grant monies, my department has accumulated a wide variety of books for readers at different levels.  There are at least 2 books of each title, which now provides the opportunity to permit students to sign out a book and read it outside of class. 

I also made a list of books for the students and put them in different levels. (It's not identical to other lists found, because it's based, in particular, on what I've seen of the reading abilities of students at my school. But it is similar. It's subject to change in the future as students more consistently read in each level.) Many books are relatively new (within the last decade), but there are several that are older and probably no longer available to purchase. (I doubt you'll have any use for my specific list, but by chance it my be helpful to you, the download is available HERE.)

Next week, weather permitting, students will choose a book for their first independent reading book, which will need to be approved by me. As they read books in class, and independently outside of class, they will add that information to the book tracking form.  I want to share this form with the other Spanish teachers at my school, so students can fill the form at the end of each level, and then we will recollect them and redistribute when they return at the next level.

Now, for the part I am looking for some guidance and suggestions from my PLN.  What is the best way to hold students accountable for reading the books?  I want reading to be enjoyable, making it more likely that students will also recognize the benefits of reading. What has worked best for you and your students?  I have some ideas of my own, and I've read many posts of forums such as moreTPRS, but I'm still open to what you have to share about your experiences.  If you prefer to email me directly, you may write a comment in the section below with your email, and mention whether or not you want your comment posted.  If you don't want your comment posted with your email listed, I'll respond to you directly and not publish/post your comment.

Thanks in advance for your help. 


  1. ¡Hola! I would love to share ideas with regards to tracking student reading. We are in the process on reorganizing our curriculum around the ACTFL Progress Indicators (can-do statements). As a high school department we don't have enough resources to allow for all students to have a book or novel for SSR or independent reading. How is your department working around this? What about the inclusion of online resources or magazine articles of interest?
    This year I am trying various methods to hold students accountable. I have tried student-created personal vocabulary lists and short paragraphs summarizing what they have read. More recently I asked them to create "quiz" questions that they could ask other students. I have tried to keep these "assignments" short as the main purpose is to get them to read.
    Would love to get together and talk about the possibilities!
    Barb, Hershey High School

    1. Hi Barb
      Great! Let's make this happen!

      How does your calendar look for next week? I'll direct message you on Twitter. Looking forward to it!

  2. Love what you have done/are doing, Cynthia! This is the most successful independent reading and accountability plan that I have come up with, although there are still kinks to work out (like teacher accountability for grading and returning papers on time..oops):