One of my favorite things in my Spanish 1 class is implementing Free Voluntary Reading time (FVR) aka SSR. It is probably the most important thing we do in class. If you need convincing of that, then you need to read The Power of Reading by Dr. Stephen Krashen or read any of his free articles about the topic.
Many teachers are overwhelmed by the number of choices. If you are able to, start building your library. Whatever you can get your hands on. Buy as much as you can each year if you have department money or write whatever grants you can. In the meantime, I can going to post my personal favorites.
Again, these books are the ones that appeal to me or to my students. I encourage you to share your own lists of your favorites. (Pssst…That’s the best part about free reading is that students have a choice!)
Justin’s 10 Favorite Spanish learner Novels
1. Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro by Carol Gaab, FluencyMatters
This book is one of my favorite’s because it is so easy and so fun. It’s why I use it as a class novel at the very beginning of the year. Students feel successful when we act it out as a class, but it’s so engaging that students are eager to read the other Brandon Brown books.
2. Escape Cubano by Mira Canion, MiraCanion
I just read this one again recently and here’s why I like it. It’s gets to the action on page 1. There is no page without serious action. It instantly pulls the reader in, and with its limited vocabulary (140 unique words), it’s an easy read for beginning students.
3. La Clase de Confesiones by A.C. Quintero
My students love this book and the author’s compelling way of writing. The connections that the students make with it’s teen drama plot make this a high interest read. The students get so into the story, they almost forget they are reading in Spanish. Your students will beg you for the sequel to this, La Bella Mentira.
4. La piñata de Renata by Craig Klein-Dexemple, SpanishCuentos
Like his other books, La Piñata de Renata is fully illustrated which makes it seem almost like a graphic novel, but these images are wonderful to aide the reader in comprehension. I can’t help but laugh out loud as I read the silly stories. This is probably the easiest reader, but his latest, Papacito, is also a funny read.
5. La Estatua by Jeremy Jordan, TPRS Books
A newer book, this book reminded me of the type of book I might have read in English as a kid in the mold of Goosebumps. It’s silly and fun and its high frequency words make it a comprehensible read for Spanish 1 students while keeping their interest and attention.
6. Daniel el detective, by Nikki Tottinham & Rebecca Landor, TPRS Books
7. El Ekeko: Un misterio boliviano by Katie Baker, FluencyMatters
8. Bianca Nieves y los siete toritos by Carrie Toth, Fluency Matters
9. Esperanza by Carol Gaab, Fluency Matters
10. Berto y sus buenos amigos by Chris Stolz, TPRS Books
Again, there are so many other books that I enjoy. These are my favorites…. for now. Tell us your favorites in the comments or include a link to a post of your own list.
For a complete list of Spanish novels for language students, check out this complete spreadsheet shared by Martina Bex at http://bit.ly/cinovels
And if you are looking for recommendations for Intermediate books, check out our full list of recommendations.