This year will be year 40, yes, FORTY years of teaching Spanish for me. Over the years, teaching in several different schools, but in the same area, I have seen my student demographic change radically. My classes are now very culturally diverse, with many students proficient in a language other than English. It is a change that has been a good one, as I firmly believe that sharing with others of different beliefs and backgrounds makes for better people. A core belief in my classroom is that while in my class, we are a family, a community of diverse, but supportive learners.
A radically important change that has taken place over my decades in education, is the concept of comprehensible input to replace the traditional grammar-based instruction.
No longer do my students attempt to memorize massive vocabulary lists and grammar charts. Rather, our classes are based on language input that can be understood by listeners and readers. With repeated comprehensible input, language output will eventually emerge. There is a great amount of listening in my classes, but there is also a great amount of reading. My Spanish III and Spanish IV students really enjoy Spanish music, TV and novels!
I have selected a variety of reading materials in Spanish for my diverse students. I want every student to be able to find something that is of interest to him or her. I want every student to find success in reading, whether it is a beginning reader or a reader for a heritage language student. My free reading library is constantly in need of replenishment and new titles, as my students read multiple times each week and I have many of my students for two years.
Reading for enjoyment in Spanish is the most valuable activity my students can do to assist their acquisition of Spanish.
Today there are many Spanish novels written specifically for students of differing levels, with limited, high-frequency vocabulary and glossaries that enable them to read independently with confidence.
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