Saturday, October 31, 2015

Interactive Reading for 2nd Language Classes - Larry el vampiro

A top priority for me when I plan lessons for my Spanish students, is to find creative ways for students to read a text in the target language.  I was able to accomplish this last week by using a story that I wrote two years ago.  I created an interactive reading by adding dialogue and gestures to the text to involve the students in the reading.  I have done something similar to this in the past (an explanation can be found on the blog post HERE, named Going on a Bear Hunt), or when reading a chapter in Piratas.  However, this interactive reading is modeled after a reading and blog post (read about it HERE and watch the video) shared by the amazing Alina Filipescu, (@FlipescuAlina on Twitter) a creative Spanish teacher in California.  

The structures that I was paying special attention to were:  "le dolía la muela", "quería morder" (because I want them to get used to seeing the verb in the infinitive form after a conjugated verb - btw, I don't use that explanation for the students), and "no la encontró".

There are 5 embedded readings of the story "Larry el vampiro". (I linked them to an earlier post about Larry el vampiro - HERE - click on "Larry el vampiro" written in the first sentence.) If you are unfamiliar with Embedded Readings, please go to Laurie Clarcq's blog HERE for an explanation and many, many embedded readings that teachers of several languages have shared on her blog.

Below is Version 3 of the story that I projected onto the board.  I read the black text, the students read the red text, and the students did the actions in the blue text.  (The powerpoint is also available from my shared GoogleDrive HERE.) 

I have two Spanish 2 classes and I told them that I was going to record them reading the text with the actions and my husband was going to decide which group did the best job.  Amazing how a little competition between classes creates a team atmosphere among the students in each class.

In preparing to record, during the recording, and when watching the recordings, the students read, and/or heard, the story (with the new structures) more than 7 times in one class period; several more in the following class period.
- first we decided the actions/gestures and practiced them individually
- they read the story 2 times to practice before the recording
- 1st recording, they read the story w/ actions
- they watched their recording
- 2nd recording, they read it (with more enthusiasm)
- they watched their second recording
- the 2nd class of the day asked to watch the other class' recording
- the students asked to watch their own recording again

That is a LOT of repetitions in which they're focused on creating a good recording so they were connecting meaning with their actions and dialogue.

I have the winning video of the students which I may upload to my school website AFTER I double-check with the students about posting it.  (They agreed to the recording so I could share it with for a future presentation, but I want to ask them before posting it online.) In the meantime, you can listen to an audio recording of the beginning part of the story HERE.  

We spent several classes on the embedded readings, on sketching, on retelling the stories, etc.  The last activity was a free write and that's where the time invested in the activities for Larry el vampiro was evident. They're writing was better than expected...once again!


  1. Sra Hitz;

    This story is coming at a perfect time. I wanted to do this story with my Spanish 3 but I thought the language was too simple. I like your idea of challenging them to a recording of the best. What a great motivator!! I am going to give it a try. You mentioned five embedded readings. Do you have them posted anywhere?


    1. I added the link to the 5 embedded readings in the post above. It actually goes back to the original post in 2013 where you will find the link or for a shortcut click HERE

      There are actually 6 versions. The sixth reading is a variation on the story in which there are two vampires so the students could read a story with which they were familiar and see the ELLOS form.

      Enjoy :-)

  2. Love this idea of interactive reading! Did you ever get their permission to show the video? Will definitely be adding this one to my bag of tricks! Thanks!

    1. No, unfortunately I did not, I'm lacking permission from one student, although she says her mom would permit it if I talked to her personally. I decided at this point that when I do this activity again next semester, I will send a permission slip home BEFORE the activity and not include them in the video.
      Did you try this with your class?