Struggling Readers’ Aid: Google Voice Commentary

In some states World Languages are completely optional, while in other states it’s becoming required to complete a certain amount in order to graduate high school.  My current school is the former, and usually the mindset at my school is that Spanish classes are for college-geared students.  However, this year I have more lower levels than I did last year.  One in particular has a 2nd grade reading level.

As I don’t have children of my own or nieces/nephews, nor have I taught this level, I do not quite know what that looks like.  What does a second grader read like?  Well, whatever that looks like, those second graders read better than one of my Spanish 1 students.  I’ve never seen his IEP, and while the special education department claims him I’m not sure if he legally has an IEP.

Either way, I need a way to accommodate this student to help him succeed.  I’ve been thinking about having a voice recording that follows along with the story.  I recently read a blog post about how one teacher set up her Google Docs to allow a Voice Comment.  It was pretty neat, so I tried it out.  I pulled up the Google Doc that had the quiz typed up and then I recorded myself reading the story.  To listen, you open the Google Document and play the audio back.  I like this for a couple of reasons: (1) I don’t have to download software onto my computer to record my voice, (2) I can share the document with other teachers, so the student is able to take the quiz with other teachers and not feel embarrassed; (3) the student can re-read and re-listen to the text as often as needed.

The hard-core academic in me says that this student won’t actually be reading.  The new, rejuvenated teacher in me think I need to do what I can to help this student.  So I’m curious.  Is this an easy out for the student and/or myself?  Are there other better methods out there to assess struggling readers in a World Language?  I’d love to hear other teachers’ commentary!

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2 thoughts on “Struggling Readers’ Aid: Google Voice Commentary

  1. I love this idea! I teach middle school, and many of our students get books on tape for their English classes. From my knowledge of second grade readers (not too much, but my mom was a reading resource teacher for over 30 years), I think they can recognize words and put them together, but your student probably has difficulties understanding the reading altogether. His or her knowledge is probably more superficial. In the book, Why Students Don’t Like School, they also mention that in fourth grade, the readings require more background knowledge. There is a shift for students who read fine in third grade, but then they are required to know more background knowledge, so they struggle. Hope some of this helps you!

    • Maris –
      ¡Muchas gracias por la información! Sometimes I wish I was able to collaborate with our elementary teachers, because I feel like they’re able to better understand the process my students go through. I bet it’s really helpful to have your mom’s experience available.

      I’m not sure if the audio helped the student or not. The day of the quiz the school suddenly assigned him an in-class aid, and the student asked to take the quiz in another room. He received 3/5 but I don’t know how many times he listened to the audio or if he was actively listening. We’ll see how it goes.

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