Reading Strategy: Carros de Leer

I’m constantly on the look out for different reading strategies to use in my classroom and today I used one that will be added to my bag of tools. 

I absolutely love the Embedded Reading strategy and consider it to be the best method for reading in a World Language, but I don’t always feel creative enough to make a catchy story each week.  It also requires a ton of prep on my part because I do it as a power point and I also like to include pictures.  

I also love paragraph shrinking but my students are tired of the strategy after only 2 goes at it.  If you haven’t heard of paragraph shrinking, you look at the paragraph (or the story in my case) and have students get rid of the “fluff.”  Students then rewrite the paragraph or story using only the most vital parts of the story.  I tried to do a few embedded reading tricks by reading it in Spanish and having them translate it to me in English as a class.  

Today, I wanted students to complete a storyboard (an idea I borrowed from Martina Bexhere’s the free version she created).  For a storyboard, the students draw the story, answer comprehension questions in English, and then rewrite the story in Spanish.  However, as I only did one day of PQA and one day of a MovieTalk this week, I wanted to make sure that my lower levels would understand the story.  I knew my upper levels knew the vocabulary well  as well as most of my average students, but I was worried about my lower ones.   I wanted to help pre-load the story into my students’ brains.  This is where CARROS DE LEER came in! 

WHAT IS CARROS DE LEER (Cars of Reading)?

Students work in a group, with their chairs positioned as cars, and read a story in Spanish.  


1. I took the story in my storyboard and “beefed it up” by adding a sister and comparing the two sisters.  

2. I had students count off to create groups (but you could easily group students by levels or mixed levels).  

3. I gave each student in the group a copy of  the beefed up version. 

4. The driver starts by reading the first sentence in Spanish. 

5. The shotgun/co-pilot translates the first sentence into English and then reads sentence 2 in Spanish. 

6.  The students keep going clockwise, so the back corner person translate sentence 2 into English and reads sentence 3 in Spanish.  

7. Students keep doing this until they’ve finished the story.  


After students complete this activity, I allowed them to work with a partner on the storyboard.  My stipulation was that it couldn’t be someone from their CARRO group.  If students wanted to work alone they could do that as well.  I also stated that in exchange for rewriting the story in Spanish today they would not have to do a timed writing tomorrow.  


– Students responded well to this activity.  Students like that they’re responsible for 2 sentences at a time instead of translating the whole story.  Students liked that they were able to ask for help from peers.  Some students really rose up to the challenge and led their groups.  

– I liked that I got to sit back and not be the sole facilitator of the activity.  Students also were more attentive as their group was depending on them to hold up their end of the activity.  I saw some real leaders shine through today as they helped keep their group on task and that was amazing to see.  

– I think this activity is slightly better suited if you use chairs in room (not desks like I have) to fully give the car effect.  

– Depending on your classes, I’d really recommend places by levels (be it an equal mixture of high-average-low or similar levels together if you’re giving more detailed stories to higher levels).  



3 thoughts on “Reading Strategy: Carros de Leer

    • Thanks for pointing that out! I still make silly gringa errors. I wish I had spent more time abroad!

      I’m also thinking about changing the title all together because the groups didn’t end up looking like cars at all…

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