Of everything we do in class, Free Reading is my favorite. Not only does it start the class out with a nice, calm routine, it loads them up with input that’s not dependent on me, and the built-in differentiation benefits all the Little Darlings. If you’re just starting out with Free Reading or you’d like to find out more, here’s how I set up my classroom library and how I kick of free reading in Level 1.
After we read, we usually do something– a teeny tiny bit of did you actually read like you were supposed it? Sometimes I use my Magic Cards to call on a few students to ask them about what they’re reading. (If they’re upper levels and they can do it in Spanish, I record it as a Speaking Grade, if they’re doing it in English, I record it as a Reading Grade). Sometimes I’ll select someone’s book and take the class on a Cultural Detour. The Game of Quotes is a lot of fun to play after Free Reading.
This year, I’ve added another tool into my “After Free Reading” tool box: Dice Book Chat.
Now, a disclaimer- I use this in my upper level classes: Spanish 4 and Spanish for Heritage Speakers. This is not something to try with your Level 1 Babies because they don’t have the language yet! Remember, they need tons and tons and tons of comprehensible language going in before a little bit comes out! I don’t teach levels 2 or 3 this year, but if I did, I’d do this with my 3s, and probably wait until the end of Spanish 2. But that’s just me, you do you!
Here’s what we do:
- Students free read. For my level 4s, they read 10-15 minutes each class. My Heritage 1 kiddos read 8-10 minutes at the beginning of the year and we build up to 15.
- Students partner up. I like to use Animal Partners, but they can also work with a student sitting nearby.
- Project the Dice Book Chat Slideshow:
- Give each pair of students a dice. (If you live in Nevada, just head on down to your corner casino and tell them you’re a teacher in need of dice for your classroom and they will most certainly hook you up! All my classroom dice say “Crystal Bay Club”. If you’re not lucky enough to teach in the Silver State, you can get them at the Dollar Store or cheap on Amazon. Sometimes when we’re feeling like we need a little something extra, colorful foam dice are fun to break out. )
- Students take turns rolling the dice and asking the corresponding question to their partner. The partner responds by using the blue sentence stem and answering about their book.
- We go for about 5 minutes then move on with out lives.
- After you’ve used it a few times and your Little Darlings need a little novelty to spice it up, turn it into a game: Have everyone write the numbers 1-6 on scratch paper. As they take turns rolling and answering, the cross off the corresponding number. First student (or pair) to answer and cross off all 6 numbers is the winner.
If you don’t teach Spanish but would love to translate this into your target language, grab a copy here, put it into your language share it back with me (senorachase at gmail dot com)! I’d love to post it for other teachers and credit you, of course!!