Build those reading skills!

What do you do your students do when they finish ahead of their classmates?  It’s important to keep them on task and in the TL, but you don’t want to give them additional work.

It is with this in mind that I have ongoing “vocab enrichment actvities” each quarter. All are centered around reading authentic materials and building vocabulary.  I happen to keep a Spanish magazine rack in my room, a collection I have built upon for years.  However, new teachers could print articles from online or even buy a few magazines and laminate articles individually.

My Spanish II students (and Spanish I when I had them) create a Colección de cognados.  It is a simple table on a page for them to list the cognates they find in the magazines.  The more familiar they are with the cognates of the language, the sooner they begin to find themselves able to accurately “guess” at a word they don’t already know. 

My Spanish IV students are working on a sheet called Para ampliar el léxico (PAL).  Their objective while reading is to dicipher meaning through context.  Their tables have a column for the unfamiliar words, the sentences they came from, and a “guess” at what it means in English.  Although some students like to verify by looking the words up, they don’t have to.  The focus is on developing the skill, not on accuracy.

How I use them:

  • Students work on these anytime they finish work ahead of their classmates.  All done and starting to chat with friends?  ¡Revistas! (magazines)
  • Everytime I create “stations” in my class (I call them PUESTOS), one station is next to the magazine rack and this is what they work on.
  • To make them appreciate the work they are doing, I allow them to use these sheets when they are working on their quarter essays.  I encourage them to try to incorporate the new words they learn, and the sheets serve as inspiration if they feel stuck.

These are due at the end of each quarter.  If a student has finished theirs, they still peruse the reading material as they finish other work, but they no longer have to write anything.  Students who fall behind in them visit online magazines from home, like http://peopleenespanol.com, to catch up.

View my Enrichment sheets here: Vocab Enrichment Charts

*I also have a simple sheet on which they write any words I translate for them in class.  It’s sort of like we have a deal – I’ll translate a word for them as needed in class – their part of the deal is to get this sheet out and write it down.  I included that sheet in the folder as well.

Magazines I get for free: Comida Kraft, Ser padres, and Ideas Creativas (from Lowe’s).

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