Free voluntary reading area





The building trades class made me a magazine rack last year and a huge shelving unit this year. I bought a Walmart bookcase and many books and magazines and violá! We have a reading nook! Well, we added the beanbags this year and NOW we have a reading nook!

Readers are leveled beginner, intermediate, advanced based on the length and difficulty of the books. I include the scholastic magazines in each level’s options. Most of the readers are from Club Leo. I buy magazines in the summer when I travel so I have a wide variety but I also subscribe to People en español to keep new stuff coming in regularly!

We have 1-2 ten minute reads per week and students really do a great job! I hope to double the library by next year! Slowly but surely, it will overtake the room, I hope! I’d love to channel Donalyn Miller and do some real, hard core learning what my kids like to read!

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas","Bananas", "Sostenible", and "Papálotl" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at

11 thoughts

  1. At what point in your lesson do you like to have your reading time? I’ve thought of the end of the hour — have students pack up and then just read — but I am concerned about how much they will focus then. Suggestions?

  2. Those are wonderful beanbag chairs… I need to add a more comfy feel to my reading corner. I love your huge selection of magazines… one of my native speakers told me today that he wanted more readings with pictures to help him visualize what is written, but not children´s books. I love it when kids come tell me what they want to read!

  3. I see that you have the Ahora and Que tal scholastic magazines. Do you use those in class or only for FVR time?

    1. btw…I love that huge wall map! And I hope to have my classroom library take over my classroom someday!

  4. It would be unprofessional of me to salivate over your reading area, wouldn’t it? I WISH I could have beanbags, but I can barely even leave a stack of papers in my classroom. How can I achieve this awesomeness? My kids act like it’s a chore to do FVR for FIVE minutes once a week!

    1. Those beanbags are the best thing I ever bought. My kids love them more than they’ve ever loved anything!

      Mine like FVR now that I have a giant library! When I had mostly people en español and scholastic magazines, it was not as interesting! We also got 2 grants for a total of 5 Kindles. Those encourage reading too!!! 🙂

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