In our most previous post, students shared how reading a novel in the target language made them feel, offering wonderful insight into the reading experience in the world language classroom. Another question we asked on a student survey, was for students to say what they liked about Free Voluntary Reading (or silent sustained reading) in class. Here’s what they said:This was my first year implementing FVR and while I started off with only a few novels (Brandon Brown, Robo en la Noche, Capibara con botas, Peter va a California, Felipe Alou, Fiesta Fatal) and we also started creating booklets that you can print out yourself.
We’ve already submitted our budget order for next year and will be adding 10 more titles along with spending the summer writing more mini-books.
Here’s what students had to say:
- I liked it because if a book was too hard I could choose an easier one and if it was too easy I could choose a harder one.
- It was fun just reading them.
- I liked that we could read at our own pace.
- We get to choose something we enjoy
- We got to pick and we weren’t assigned a book. Also, we didn’t have to annotate or answer questions.
- Was it felt fun instead of being forced too.
- You could find one that appealed to you.
- We all didn’t have to read the same book.
- I enjoyed the wide variety of books that were offered. I felt that there were a wide variety of topics, from serious ones to not-so-serious ones.
- I got to chose what I read and if i didn’t like it I could switch to something else.
Students seemed to enjoy the variety of books as well as having freedom to stop reading if they didn’t like a particular book. Every student is different so of course different books will appeal to different students. Some students will appreciate a more serious novel about a black baseball player joining the MLB during the civil rights movement while other students may appreciate a silly story about a robot that spreads poop all over a house.
There is no such thing as the “perfect” story for everyone. When you let students have a choice, they are more likely to enjoy the experience. When they enjoy the experience, they are so into the story that they don’t even realize they are acquiring the language. And that really is the goal, right?