I don't know if the warm spring weather has transformed my students into verbally appreciative readers or if there's some type of reading vortex swirling through Palmyra, PA, but something strange this way comes. Something is nudging my students to be extra complimentary about their SSR books. Whatever it may be, I'm loving it.
Students, on their OWN, are commenting to me how much they like the books they are reading independently during SSR (Sustained Silent Reading). In three days' time, I had several students tell me about their book or recommend to another student to read the book they're reading.
Starting a SSR program in a second language requires you to be diligent and consistent in your expectations, but it will be worthy your time. Eventually, the students will learn to enjoy and appreciate that reading time; at least I've found that to be the case for the majority of the students!
The books that my students raved about last week were:
1. El Escape by A.C. Quintero
The 11th grade male student said: "This book is really good." I have observed this student many times during SSR in the last 3 months in which he was staring at the floor instead of reading, 'reading' on the same page for the majority of the 10 minutes; and sleeping. Since he started to read El Escape, his reading behaviors have changed and he spends the full 10 minutes reading.
I told the author, A.C. Quintero, and she said she wrote the book especially for boys that don't want to read romance books.
2. La Calaca Alegre by Carrie Toth
A student wanted a recommendation for a new book so I suggested La Calaca Alegre by Carrie Toth. Three days later, another student needed a new book. The student reading La Calaca Alegre told him to read La Calaca Alegre because she liked it and thought he would like it too.
3. Brandon Brown Dice la Verdad by Carol Gaab
Before starting SSR today, a female student said, "Señora, I want to tell whoever wrote this Brandon Brown book that they wrote a literal masterpiece." (She was holding Brandon Brown Dice la Verdad) Yes, that is exactly what she said. I asked if I could videotape her saying that and she agreed. In the video she not only says Brandon Brown Dice la Verdad is a great book but "all of the Brandon Brown books are literal masterpieces". I texted that video to Carol Gaab. I think she is Carol's newest favorite student. 😂
4. Rebeldes de Tejas by Mira Canion
A student completed his Book Talk assignment on Rebeldes de Tejas. He said he likes historical fiction and Rebeldes de Tejas was his favorite book this semester. I also sent a video of him saying that to Mira.
5. El Armario by A. C. Quintero
El Armario is the second book in a trilogy. The student did her Book Talk on this book and said it was her favorite book. The following day she asked me for the sequel to El Armario, which is Las Sombras.
(The first book in the trilogy is Las Apariencias Engañen but other students were reading my two copies at the time, so she skipped the first book and read the second book. She said it was a little confusing at the beginning since she didn't read book #1, but it was so compelling and interesting so she continued reading.)
You can find the above readers at the author's websites, or Amazon, or Fluency Matters.
If you do not have a SSR program in place, I strongly recommend that you consider it. Finding funds for a class library can be a challenging task, but many teachers have been creative and persistent in searching for funds and reading materials and they now provide this opportunity for their students.