Spanish teachers interested in using comprehensible input in my department often ask me for advice on where to start. After telling them to focus on input in class, my response is always “Start a Spanish classroom library.”
Creating a proficiency reading program in world language can sound icky-alot of work, lots of money, and all that jazz. Also, how on earth do you get students to read in another language?
Despite how labor-intensive it sounds, building a reading program in your foreign language classroom is actually one of the more teacher-friendly things you can do that leads to the fastest acquisition.
Here’s some research that’s gonna drop your jaw and fire you up to get started:
“Picking up word meanings by reading is 10 times faster than intensive vocabulary instruction.”This quote originally found on Bryce Hedstrom’s blog
―Stephen Krashen (1993). The Power of Reading, p. 15, citing a study by Nagy, Herman and Anderson
Not convinced? In my first year transitioning to comprehensible input in my French and Spanish classes, I decided to try out building a reading program for my Spanish kids since I have more students (sorry Frenchies, I know. I feel your pain. Next year’s project!)
It took me 30 minutes and $0 dollars to get started.
DonorsChoose + Facebook + 3 weeks of patience = 30 books donated to my school!
Here’s How I Started A Spanish Classroom Library For Free and how you can too:
1. I attended Bryce Hedstrom’s conference on the Best, Most Powerful Strategies for World Language Teachers.
We talked at length about the power of reading in another language and using simple leveled readers , and I was convinced. The great thing about books is that they’re INTERESTING! They get students to read about topics they like and get familiar with high-frequency verbs and structures in context.
Best of all, you’re using language for its true intent-to tell an interesting story that connects students to culture. Isn’t that the whole point?
Here are some resources from Bryce’s website on the power of reading-check them out:
- My Favorite Reading Quotes with Sources
- Reading Resistance
- The Enchanted Hour
- Free Stuff and Guides for Reading
2. I browsed on Amazon.com for CI readers
I looked for the average price, and decided to try to get them donated first before buying any. Here’s the list of books I bought and some other resources for where to also find lists:
- Agentes Secretos-Mira Canion
- Fiesta Fatal-Mira Canion
- El Capibara Con Botas-Mira Canion
- La Isla Más Peligrosa-Jon Sifert
- La Novia Perfecta-Bryan Kandel
- La Madre Perfecta-Rachel Emery
- Pancho y Las Momias- by Rachel Emery and Julian Arpin-Cortez
More Places to Find Book Lists:
3. I logged on to DonorsChoose.org.
If you don’t have an account, you’ll have to create one. This is one of the best charities in existence, make sure you check them out. To get started, you’ll need a classroom photo (one without students in it) and a short profile of your student body.
4. I created a new project and made sure it had a great title.
My project was called , “Yes, You Can Read in Spanish! Simple & Engaging Novels” Remember that people pick your project to donate, and the better your advocacy and marketing, the faster the donations will come! Someone anonymously posted that they donated to my project because the title was so empowering and positive. The donors who go on this website are looking to empower teachers, so make sure that your prose reflects your passion for your kids and they’ll be happy to fund your project.
5. I selected my novels.
There’s a tool on DonorsChoose where you can browse through Amazon for Spanish resources, and I typed in “Spanish readers” and “CI readers” to find the ones I wanted. Look above for the final list.
6. I was brave and shared it on Facebook
Even though I rarely post things on social media, I blasted it out and some of my family and friends contributed to my project! I was so surprised and excited. Put your project out there, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with who would happily give to it.
It took a few weeks, but soon, I had all the funding I needed! The beautiful books arrived and we started reading as a class!
So what are you waiting for? Anytime is a great time to start a book with your Spanish class. Don’t let something simple like getting materials get in your way–yes, you can start a Spanish classroom library! FO FREE!
Thank you so much to the donors who made this project possible, you made a huge difference to my students are the real heros of this post. Thank you to DonorsChoose for making this beautiful library possible!
I’ll see you in the trenches,
Devon @ La Libre Language Learning