I will be teaching in a new school! For the past 16 years, I have been teaching in rural South Carolina, and am moving my family of 5 to Maryland. Although I am a "seasoned" teacher, I have recently been reading about comprehensible input, and want to start a classroom library full of novels that students will want to read.
Last year, my students fell in love with a novel that I bought for them by Carrie Toth, called "La Hija del Sastre".
My kids loved the story, the historical viewpoint, and most of all, the fact that they could just read on their own! I find that often students are wary of reading in Spanish because they don't know what a word means. This book had a glossary in the back for new words, and was written with the intent for a second language reader to understand just what was happening.
It is my goal to incorporate silent sustained reading in my classes next year. In order to accomplish this task, I will need some help purchasing more short novels that are appropriate for high school students (nobody wants to read a baby book when you are sixteen!)
I hear from people all of the time that they took Spanish in high school, but can't speak a word. Either they hated learning all of the grammar, or their teacher didn't provide them with real-life experiences and practice to make the language stick. I have never been asked to conjugate a verb in Spanish by a Spanish speaker. Learning a second language should be a fun experience, and like learning a first language, exposure to authentic resources is critical in learning. My students often claim that one of the things that turns them off from second language learning is that they want to say something, and don't have the vocabulary to say it. When you were learning vocabulary as a child, I bet you did it through reading. Maybe your parents read to you, or you have a fond memory of a teacher reading to your class.
We have all had those books we were forced to read as children that we hated, but what if there were interesting books on a variety of topics that were written just for students learning Spanish?
They do exist! I have read several readers written specifically for students learning Spanish. They have a glossary in the back for new words, which keeps them from having to look up words in a dictionary. The language is simple enough for beginning readers and still is relevant to a high school student in terms of topic. The students pick up vocabulary at an exponential rate when they see new words used in context. My plan is to incorporate Silent Sustained Reading (SSR) in my high school Spanish classes. In order to do that, I need books that students will love on a variety of relevant topics.
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