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Meet Sra. Wienhold

My Spanish Classroom Library

Ever since I started teaching, I always knew I wanted to have a Spanish class library. I have always been a huge bookworm, and since learning Spanish have always tried to push myself to free read books in Spanish. I know how much this pleasure reading in the target language has personally helped me to build my proficiency and want to give my students that same opportunity. So, I started collecting cheap Spanish books anywhere I could find them: free bilingual books in Cheerios boxes, Target dollar spot Spanish books, second hand stores, markets while abroad, and subscriptions to People en Español using frequent flier miles (mags for miles).


I knew I was going to need some money for this project, so last year I started putting together a proposal for a local education grant. Unfortunately, with planning a wedding, sponsoring Spanish club, and assisting with the school play and musical, I never got around to finishing it. So this year I made applying for the grant a priority and had it in within the first month of school, and I got it! With the money I was actually able to begin a substantial classroom library. I purchased a variety of levels and types of books from AmazonBook source , Books for all Children and  tprs sample packs, that arrived while I was on maternity leave.

While on maternity leave this winter, there was a great #langchat discussing reading activities in the WL classroom (Summary Here). This chat inspired me to start a silent reading (SSR or FVR) program once I returned with all my new resources. @SraSpanglish (great blog here Sra Spanglish) was nice enough to share her accountability form with me as an example. 

How I implemented free reading in my class is as follows:
  • Every Tuesday & Thursday when students enter class they know their "Para Empezar" is to grab a book or magazine from the reading shelf and read silently for about 10 minutes. (This varies to 5-15 minutes by class and day depending on what else is planned and how the students' engagement is).
  • The expectation is they will silently look at a book or magazine for the entire duration.
  • On their reading log chart them simply record the book & page number, a rank of 1-10 & a sentence about why they ranked it the way they did. 
  • Students can choose to continue reading the same book all semester, or pick up a new one each time. 
What I learned about free reading
  • Student Choice -  I was AMAZED at what students read when given the choice. Day one I had two high level Spanish 1 students choose to read the Spanish versions of The Hunger Games & Harry Potter. It was AWESOME to see them challenging themselves and really enjoying what they were reading. 
  • Variety of materials- It is important to have a wide range of levels and types of reading options. I have been trying to get more "manly" magazines, since most I have now are geared toward woman. I also need to keep getting fresh reading material to spice it up. The local library is a great option for borrowing tons of Spanish books. I also want to participate in the great project Mike Peto is starting to expand my library -  FVR Class Library Starter Kit
  • Consistency - I am glad I established set days, so even if I was distracted and forgot, students automatically go to the reading shelf when they enter on Tuesday and Thursday. 
I am excited to expand and utilize my library in many ways for year to come. 
Do you have a class library? How do you use it?
- Allison 

15 comments

  1. My habit when traveling is buying a ton of magazines! I think ESPN has a sports one in Spanish that *may* be available in the US, but besides People en Espanol, there isn't much choice. I look for comic books and kids magazines when I'm traveling. I tend to load up when I'm at the airport.
    The only one that I know has an online edition (for ipad or e-readers) is Tú. It's 1.50 per magazine and is geared to teenage girls.

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    1. I also load up on magazines when traveling! My husband thinks I am crazy that my "souvenirs" from our honeymoon in Mexico were a suitcase full of Spanish books & magazines!

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  2. OMG! I was so excited to read this post, even before I got to the ending! :) I´m looking forward to reading more posts. - Mike Peto (FVR Class Library Starter Kit)

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    1. Thank you so much Mike! I am nervous to contribute to your awesome project since neither I, nor my students have ever written a story or book. It will be a new adventure for all of us next year! Your blog is one of the ones that really convinced me that I needed a class library :)




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  3. I am starting my first year of teaching in a rural school in Montana. I am going to be teaching 6-8th grades and all the high school levels as well, currently up to Spanish 3. I LOVE the idea of a library and have been fantasizing about my perfect classroom library for years (nerd I know). I love your post and your ideas! Your blog is EXTREMELY helpful for me! I have to create my own curriculum also! So on the look out for great ideas and helpful tips and tricks. I have a question on your free-time reading - if students don't know words do they use a dictionary or do you prefer them to get the main idea from context? How do you keep track of books you have and then books students borrow? Thank you for all your great posts! - Tana Tchida

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    1. I am so glad I can be of some help! Good luck planning this summer & let me know if you have any questions. As for looking up words I try to stress that they do not need to know every word to understand the book. I do have some students who look up words while reading, and if they are going to go out of their way to learn a new word I don't stop them.

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  4. That's kind of how I was thinking about it also! And thanks, I may take you up on some questions during my planning process!

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    1. Also to keep track of books I downloaded a nap in my phons called classro organizer. I use it to scan all the barcodes and then can use it for students to check out and return my books. So far we have mostly used them in class, but next year I am thinking if having them free read a book over a quarter/semester and doing a mini book report on it. If you do not already have twitter I collaborate with teachers you should! I am @senorawienhold

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  5. Do you have a handout that your students use for their reading log? If so, would you be willing to share?? :D

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    1. Here is the form I modified from @SraSpanglish in Google Docs https://drive.google.com/a/boscosystem.pvt.k12.ia.us/?tab=mo#folders/0ByHs92nKYjFoazNwNjBXR0h3c2s
      This year since we are going one to one, I made a Google form for the students to fill out instead. https://docs.google.com/a/boscosystem.pvt.k12.ia.us/forms/d/15QlFuEGUSUkcNaeUoh4TfeC7Faa87LmAxB7Y9LTP40U/viewform
      Thanks for reading!
      Allison

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    2. I have finally gotten my own library for this coming year!! YAY! I have tried to access the form from your google docs, but it does not come up. Has it changed locations???

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    3. That is so exciting! Try this link for the paper form. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByHs92nKYjFoQS1zRjc1UFd3Q00/view?usp=sharing

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  6. Do you organize the reading materials by difficulty level or are the students pretty good at finding material that fits/slightly challenges their abilities?

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    1. When this post was written there was not a ton for the students to choose from. They knew the picture books were on the top shelf and the chapter books on the lower shelf. The chapter books were pretty much sorted by level with harder (& bigger) on the left. This year I am planning to sort into various bins. The kids are pretty good at picking something around their level. Some will always choose easier, but as long as they are reading, they are growing.

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