If you want to see how effective reading can be in the world language classroom, just ask your students. As our year is winding down, I had students fill out a google survey to get some of their feedback and thoughts on this year. This first survey focused on getting feedback on reading a class novel as well as FVR.
The first question and answers that I’ll share this week was “Being able to read a novel in Spanish makes me feel….” and students finished the sentence. Read what they said:
Many students responded with of “accomplished, great, good, proud, and smart“. These more detailed responses truly show the power of reading to acquire language:
- Great because I knew no Spanish last year and now I can read an entire book.
- Like I actually know Spanish.
- Proud and happy that I can understand enough words in Spanish to understand what’s going on.
- It makes me realize how much improvement i have made over the year even though it didn’t seem like we were learning much at first, being able to notice how much i have improved and have been able to have conversations with my parents in Spanish also just feels really cool.
- Very smart- i feel like I actually understand something and I feel empowered
- Pretty awesome because I have no idea that I was even learning this year, but I did.
- Confident about my language acquisition skills.
- Special because none of my family can do that.
- Excited because I can actually understand the language without translating it in my head like I used to do.
- like I actually know Spanish, and understand it
- partially bilingual.
- It makes me feel like I’ve grown because before I knew little Spanish and now I know a lot more.
- It makes me feel more confident when I speak in sentences for fun or with other people because I understand the meaning of more things.
I was happy to hear one student say it didn’t even feel like he was even learning… because I certainly wasn’t “teaching”. All I had to do was provide the students with comprehensible input and the magic of language acquisition takes it over from there. There is no memorizing of vocabulary lists and no grammar drills. The language comes naturally. Some students were hesitant to this method, because it was something new to them. But at the end of the year, even the students can see the results.
Another moment made me realize the power of reading as I was grading a writing assessment at the end of the year. Students had to describe a scenario and justify if the situation was fair or unfair. A majority of students kept including the word “responsablidad” and “responsable”… and they all used them accurately. What’s the big deal? Well, I never used this word in class. Heck, it’s not on a poster in my room. So how did students know it? They had acquired it from reading the Brandon Brown series, which was available during Free Voluntary Reading. WIN!
I’ll post more this week on student’s reactions to FVR as well as what students said helped them understand a class novel.