Kicking off Free Reading in Level 1

Tomorrow my little darlings start 2nd semester and I can’t wait to get my Spanish 1s reading independently. I can’t wait to get started because:

  1. Free Reading is good for them.
  2. Free Reading is good for me. Because they’re getting input that’s not coming out of my mouth. It gives me a break. A chance to be off the stage. A chance to catch my breath,  sip my tea, enjoy the silence and read a book. And it’s heavenly!

Free Reading?! Tell me more!

Here are some details about our Free Reading Program and Here’s what we do once they finish reading.

I’m starting Free Reading with my Spanish 1s earlier than I did last year (see reason #2 above) and I really want to get them started on the right foot. Last semester we read Bart quiere un gato (Highly recommend it! I keep meaning to write a blog post about it, but… time is short, my friends!), they’ve read a lot of stories and articles with partners and now they’re ready to fly solo.

My Spanish 1s are… how do I put this nicely?….shall we say wild maniacs a bit on the squirrelly side this year, so I really want to be clear with my expectations: Here’s the slideshow I made spelling it out for them. (If you’d like to use this, make a copy and edit away, and replace my bitmoji with your bitmoji or else your kiddos will be like Huh?!) An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or so they say, right?!

Before we begin, I want to give them plenty of chances to browse the books (I’ve got lots, here’s the list of the books in my library and where to buy them!) to help them make a good choice. I plan on having everyone grab a book and read/skim/ look at it for 2 minutes. After the 2 minutes is up, they’ll signal me with a thumbs up, thumbs to the side, or thumbs down indicating if they’d like to read that novel during free reading. Then they’ll trade books with another student,  take 2 minutes to read and then signal again.  We’ll do this a few times, over a few class periods before they actually settle down to read.

Update: I did this today and something totally unexpected happened! I was expecting kids to trade books every 2 minutes. I was totally unprepared when kids didn’t want to trade their books, they wanted to keep reading!! The 2nd time I asked them to trade only 4-5 kids wanted to browse a new book. After 3 rotations, I told kids to put their book away if they want to look at another book next class, or come to me for a ribbon bookmark if they want to claim their book. Nearly all the class wanted a bookmark!!! They want to read! Free Reading Win!!!

I’m looking forward to Mike Peto’s session at Comprehensible Online titled, Browsing Strategies!!! The Secret to Engaging Students with a Class Library (If you want to be a part of this awesome online professional development opportunity, check it out and  be sure to use the code AnneMarie to get $25 off the registration cost!) to get some more browsing strategies to incorporate into my tool box.

Wish us luck getting Free Reading rolling with my Spanish 1s…because I really need a break to sip my tea, enjoy the silence, and watch them load themselves up with comprehensible input. Why do I feel tired before the semester even begins?! It might be the Norovirus that ravaged my household last week...

Happy reading, friends!




  1. You read my mind! My co-worker and I are planning on starting free reading soon and we had been looking for books our Spanish 1 students would like. Thanks to your list, I just ordered several more to try out. Thanks!


  2. Thank you so much for sharing. Novice language students do need more support with FVR and I was thrilled to see you targeting them specifically in this article.


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