Reading Club Takeaways: Final Reflections

I am going to give Reading Club round one a hearty 86/100 points!  One of the best “pilots” I’ve run in the classroom but with a definite down side!  Let me share my faves and fails!

Fails first:

  1. I waited too late in the year.  The first 3 weeks went GREAT, these last two weeks my Juniors and Seniors are DONE… I thought this would be a great, easy end to the year but it ended up being too much freedom for those Mon-Wed reading days!
  2. Discussion Thursday, my VERY proudest part of Reading Club, was HARD in the groups that were reading different novels.  I tried discussing literary things like pro and antagonists, good vs evil, plot twists, etc… but they had to spend a lot of time answering basic questions about their novel from classmates confused by the conversation!  On a positive note, 100% Spanish and they asked all the right questions and gave all the right answers…
  3. I think some of the groupings in Spanish 3 were wrong but they didn’t want to own up to needing to move to Alfa (the group I led)… Some days I caught grupo cooperativo just sitting close and listening as we read together.
  4. Reading level varied so some groups got done with a lot of time to spare.  Both with reading and with their daily project.
  5. Alfa group had no responsibility for comprehension questions or products because I was asking them as we read… but then I had trouble giving that a grade when the other groups had reading assessments…

Faves:

  1. Discussion Thursday, Discussion Thursday, Discussion Thursday!  I’ll attach my rubric and my discussion guidelines so you know what they were expected to do!  Oh MY GOSH!!! I could not believe the success of this part. I want to find a way to incorporate it into every unit… They were amazing!  The seniors, a group who have always tried to get away with the minimum, didn’t wow me like the SOPHOMORES!  We had been focusing on future tense with va a (going to) as we read Robo en la noche in class.  They were asking and answering all kinds of questions about what would happen in the next part of the novel and a good chunk of them were throwing in the right verb forms!!  40 solid minutes of just conversation!!!  They led it, I literally said nothing unless we came to a point where I really wanted them to dig deeper on something… I might guide them that direction with a question or statement but they always took control right back!
  2. My independent readers really felt good about their ability.  AND they felt like I was recognizing them for what they could (and preferred) to do!
  3. This gave me the opportunity to use the variety of seating around my room as groups read in different areas (bean bags, tables, chairs, and lounge) every week!  They enjoyed all the scenery changes.
  4. I feel like I really got to help my Alfa group kids through the novel and bond with them.  We moved at their pace and there were no blank stares or lost places because it was all about them!
  5. I got to use a TON of my pinterest pins as I gave Spanish 4 and Spanish 3’s cooperative group their “out of the box” assessments!

In summary, give Reading Club a try!  I am so glad I did and am ready to tweak and try again next year!  I don’t recommend it until late level 3 and after they have lots of novel reading experience though!  They need to learn to read a whole novel without fear before they can go solo like this! 🙂

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" and "Bananas" 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 gmail.com.

3 thoughts

  1. I would really like your rubric for your discussion Thursdays! Did you post it somewhere?

    Thank you!

  2. I love the idea. It’s is definitely too late this year but I would love to do it next year. Would you be interested in doing some collaboration ? I work in a magnet school for AP and IB. I teach level 1, 3 IB and AP. My kids love to do discussion so I feel this structure will really help.
    Thanks,

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