Reading Strategies

I’ve never worked in a school on a state or federal watch-list until this year.  My school is on the watch list for reading and math scores, and most of our PD has focused on relaying reading strategies to our students.  If you’d like to check our PD for the year check our our Professional Development Website.  It is without a doubt that my current students do not believe that:

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I have noticed a major difference in my students’ academic capabilities between my current and past students, and it has been difficult working on reading in Spanish when my students are greatly struggling to read in English.  Often when I would do the required reading strategy in class, most students would question why we were doing this in every class subject.  They had no idea WHY they were doing the special lessons – they just knew they had to DO them.  So I was honest with all my students and told them why.

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While these are not the required reading lessons, I have compiled a list of reading strategies to be used in the Foreign Language classroom.  These could be used for authentic resources or in a textbook.

Pre-Reading Questions: have students brainstorm answers to a topic question, and later they can go back and see if their list matched the points brought up in the reading.

Translating from Spanish into English.

– Scan the reading and pick out the 5 longest words they see.  Could add stipulation that they have to be words they have never seen before but look like an English word.

– True and False Questions in English (this one’s my go to, but I need to branch out!)

– Multiple Choice

– Fill in the blank sentences.  Students would have a Spanish sentence and an English translation, with blanks on the English side to fill in.

– Cloze Paragraphs – Students can fill in familiar English vocabulary, cognates or unfamiliar words (reading in context and taking a guess)

– Cognates – Have them write a list of any and all cognates that they see and guess what they mean in English

– Circle the Word(s) Mentioned – in a certain paragraph.  Example: Circle the words below that you find in Spanish in the second paragraph : drinks / banana / bread / Rice/ breakfast.  There might be 1, might be more than 1! You decide!

– Write a sentence and have kids locate it. Which paragraph is it in?

– Matching – the first part of a sentence to the most logical ending. 

– Definitions: give student simple Spanish definitions and send them on a scavenger hunt for the word.  example: es una casa/ los estudiantes usan muchos numeros / Algebra y Geometria son…  The students then look in the reading and find “matematicas.”

– Arrange the Order – Give sentences or main points and ask students to arrange them in order.  This is based on presentation in reading.

– On vocabulary when students know two words for an item or there is a good cognate: which sentence means the same thing?  Example:  In the reading it says “Juan es gracioso.”  Students read other sentences that describe Juan and decide that this mean she is also (a) comico, (b) reservado, (c) timido, etc.

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I don’t think this is the end-all-be-all for reading skills, but I find it to be very helpful to read over when I need some fresh ideas.  If you have more ideas I’d love to hear them!

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