Curious about FVR, free voluntary reading, or CI novels in your world language class? This post and video guide is all about saving you planning time while still being an excellent, proficiency-centered world language teacher! Using the power of CI readers, I’ll walk you through how I got 3 whole weeks of lessons out of just 3 planning periods. Watch to get the full list of my favorite CI readers for middle-high school levels 1-2 (novice) for all languages, including German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Chinese.
Need the list of CI Readers?
French/Spanish teachers: click here to get the list. Your FVR library for Spanish or French class will thank you!
Italian/German/Chinese – head to Wayside Publishing for all books mentioned.
Other great places for books: Brycehedstrom.com
CI Novels = Gamechangers
I’ll be the first to tell you that CI novels can be tricky to figure out in class. But they are worth every second of your time investment because they are a rich time investment in both your planning and your students’ proficiency and vocabulary acquisition.
There’s research to support that learners acquire new words in context 90% faster while reading, simply because the brain LOVES seeing words the way they are meant to be seen:
- in context
- in stories
- in interesting, compelling input
- with tons of scaffolding and support, like glossaries
- surrounded by familiar words and careful cognate placement
Mistakes When Using CI Novels in Class
When I first tried to use novels in class, I made these mistakes so you don’t have to.
- I tried right away to put books (even very simple ones) in the hands of my students and asked them to read on their own
- I got frustrated about not having access to a class set of 30 for each student and waited years to start /get funding for an FVR library for Spanish instead of getting creativea
- I spent precious time and energy trying to assess how well my students understood details, characters, important functional chunks, and plot points instead of focusing on picking books they enjoyed
- I expected that using CI readers would only work if I was good at using them
How to Get Started with Comprehensible Input Novels
Here’s each of the fixes for the mistakes above:
- Start instead by doing pre-reading and cover preview activities. Then start reading the book TO your students in teeny tiny chunks, with tons of support. Then give the same exact page for students to read in pairs together. This is a great first-timer activity especially if your students have never seen large sections of text in the target language. Remember, large sections of text, even well written and simple, is very scary for learners!
- You only need even just 1 copy to start using a CI novel. If funding is dried up, then simply read the book to your students every day in 5-10 minute chunks. The benefits are enormous! You can also get 5, 10 copies, or even a set of 15 for pairs to share. For more info on how to get funding for an FVR library for free voluntary reading, check out this post here.
Check out my old classroom library below! 👇
- It kills the reading vibe in your class to assess and constantly check for mastery of specific pieces of the book. That’s not the point in world language. They will NATURALLY pick up all this new vocab and solidify so much of the fabric of your target language by reading. The point is to find stories they love and get them to FOCUS on reading and enjoy it.
- I was so bad at using readers in class, and messed up alot the first year. I still messed up the second year. Guess what? My students still learned so much more from the novels than they would learn from a meticulous high frequency unit from me. I saw such huge gains in language fluency even from me fumbling through a novel study. I can’t recommend it enough! But the best part is that it creates the content for you. Using novels helps by providing high-quality input and activities that YOU don’t have to come up with yourself. It saves so much planning time to use CI novels or start an FVR habit in your world language class!
Have you ever wished the transition to proficiency were easier to do? Grab the FREE toolkit here to learn the framework for updating your practice to comprehensible input – without all the overwhelm – and prepare for the challenges ahead.
Free Conference for World Language Teachers
If you’re ready to jump in and get started with proficiency and teaching with comprehensible input, I have another resource to help you on your journey below:
Sign Up for the Next Practical & Comprehensible Free Virtual Conference! Every year, I gather together the best and brightest in the field of world language to share with you how to switch to proficiency through comprehensible input. All with practical ideas that you can use tomorrow. It’s a FREE virtual conference – join the waitlist and find out more about the speakers here.
Remember that an FVR library is amazing, but it’s not necessarily where you need to start. Just experimenting with CI novels can make huge strides for your planning period and your students at the same time!
Rooting for you,