Free Voluntary Reading has become an important (and popular!) part of my Middle School Spanish classes. The students are enjoying the quiet reading time (and so am I)!* The admin at school is on board as well. I have nothing but good things to say about FVR and I’d recommend it whole-heartedly!
That being said, starting an FVR program has a daunting task with lots of ups and downs (which I talked about in my last post) and keeping it up has been an exercise in persistence, but even with the speed bumps we’ve hit so far, my students and I are really liking it.
Here are some tips from what I have learned along the way:
Set specific expectations
My students say the “Frase Secreta” of the month, walk in, and immediately get a book and start reading.
This PowerPoint slide is projected at the beginning of every class period with reminders:
Once the students are all in and reading, I start a timer.
The first few times we did FVR (which we call Spanish AR, which is named after the reading program we use in our school – Accelerated Reader), we only read for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. It was long enough for them to settle and get started, but short enough to leave them wanting more. I like for them to be slightly disappointed that they have to stop reading, because it keeps them wanting to read more. Since January, we have built up to 6 minutes and 15 seconds. This is where we are now. I don’t see us going too much longer than that; we will top off around 8 minutes. I don’t want to do any more than that because I only see the kids for 2 45 minute periods a week and I like to be able to provide all kinds of input during class, not just interpretive reading.
When you’re finished with reading time
After we’re done reading, I ask 2 students to put the books back in my “library” (the top of a shelf in the back of the classroom with painter’s tape dividing it into sections). While they are collecting and putting away books, I change my PowerPoint slide to the daily lesson slide (this has any bellwork-type activities, supplies needed for class, a short explanation of what we’ll be doing in class, and a silly meme or bitmoji picture for discussion). Students get out their supplies for the day and discuss their books – what did they like? What did they not like? What was good about it? What sucked? etc. Then we have a few share what they are reading about aloud.
Finally during this time, students can take some time to write reviews of the books they have finished. They rate the book out of 5 stars and write a short blurb about why they liked or didn’t like it. Then, I post them on the wall above the library. I use notecards, but there are lots of different resources out there to explore.
*Edit, 2/13/20 So far, the kids have read for around 50 minutes and 30 seconds total in the 10 class days in which we have read!