If you are thinking to yourself, “Another post about FVR?!”, then I would suggest this book
by the legend himself, Stephen Krashen, The Power of Reading. That book has focused my attention to reading as a way for students to acquire language. FVR has become a big focus for me this year, and led me to apply for a local grant for new novels as well as audiobooks.
We’ve taken what has been working well with our FVR and are about to add audiobooks to the mix.
If you have available grants that you can apply for, take a look at our grant proposal, and use what you can. The idea is that students will be able to play the CD audiobook of the novel during FVR time. I didn’t get enough money in my grant to purchase CD/mp3 players but have put out a request for parents to donate old CD players that they no longer use.
When students choose a book on Mondays during our Free Voluntary Reading time, that I call “lectura libre”, they will notice that most our of Fluency Matters and Mira Canion novels have an audiobook. I have labeled the books that have an audiobook in my library with a sticker*. They will have the option to grab a CD player and listen to the audio book as they are reading.
You can get the FM’s novel with the Audio for only a dollar extra ($20 for audio + book, as opposed to $19 for just audio and $6 for individual books) FluencyMatters now has FVR packages where you can get all books for a certain level at the discounted rate ($5 per book).
FVR at… HOME?!
My next step is to make this an option for students to take home. I will have it optional for any student at anytime to check out a reader (and audio CD, CD player) to read on their own. They may be encouraged by our FVR class competition. I may also assign one-two classes per week to take a novel home with them. I’ve already sent a note home to parents to encourage them to be involved in their child’s reading by having them read together, or the student summarizing what they read, or translate a section of the reading. In terms of accountability, I *might* print out a bookmark for students to complete with questions like, did they use the audio CD, did they like the book, did they read with anyone in their family, and have a space for a parent signature. This would be really just to get the parents involved. If I make one, I’ll post it here later.
FVR during the summer?
I am also going to encourage my students to look into purchasing an “e-book course” for over the summer or during the next school year when they don’t have a FVR-friendly classroom. For $6 they can read a comprehensible book on their own, listen to the audio, and complete optional exercises. I think highly motivated readers might be interested in this.
*For the sticker, I just printed out a small audiobook logo with the text “audiobook” underneath onto mailing labels and cut them into squares to place them on the book.
** I’ve covered all my novels with laminating sheets so they are ready to take the abuse of being stuffed into lockers and backpacks.
I’m curious to how you use audio books? I’ve only ever used it before with the whole class as we go through a chapter of a novel the class reads together. Looking forward to seeing how this works! I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, or suggestions!