My Spanish 2 students have been doing silent reading for about 4 or 5 weeks now. Twice a week they grab a book or magazine and spend the first five minutes of class reading. I bought the books for my library with a grant awarded through a local education foundation. As the grant deadline is coming up again in October, I wanted to get some feedback from my students about our silent reading time. Here is the survey I gave my students. They answered anonymously:
Download here: FVR class survey
The feedback was mixed. First of all, only about half of the surveys were turned in. Not sure how that happened…
For questions 4 and 5 – Is reading a good use of class time/Do you enjoy reading time I had 13 positive responses, 8 mixed responses, and 6 negative responses.
For question 3 – What do you do during reading time – I had ten responses of “I read the whole time,” 12 “I read some of the time,” and 6 “I don’t read very much” (Including write ins of I daydream/I pretend to read).
The comments were the most interesting. For number 4 (Is reading a good use of class time? Why? Here are some of the positive responses:
“It helps me to learn Spanish”
“It helps me to see how words are spelled”
“You see words that are brought up in regular class”
“It shows you how to connect words”
“We learn new words and see how they are used”
“It helps me recognize the words I know. I recognize words every time I read and use clues to figure our words I don’t know.”
“It gets us familiar with reading Spanish”
“Dialogue is simple to pick up from Spanish books”
“The conjugation of verbs in context of whole sentences”
And of course, some negative:
“[It’s not a good use of class time because] it’s five minutes of nothing.”
“[It’s not a good use of class time because] not a lot of [students] actually read”
“I don’t like to read”
And the constructive criticism:
“We need a helper when we’re stuck on a sentence so we can learn instead of ignoring”
(I do shush them sometimes in the interest of preserving the silence).
I think I’m due for a talk with them, to go over the reasons why we’re reading, and also to share these comments – the positive to show them what they could be getting out of it, and the negative to discuss. Actually, according to the survey, most students are reading during reading time. And for the five minutes of nothing – I think we’ll talk about how motivation is the biggest factor in how successful you are in learning a foreign language. Yes, you can sit there and daydream and pretend to read, or you can apply yourself and see what you learn. The last comment – “We need a helper” – I think I can do that. Maybe I can make one day silent reading and one day partner reading (we will see how this goes – if it deteriorates into socialization instead of reading it will change back. If it works great, maybe we’ll make both days partner reading days). I think I’m going to encourage them to pick a novel to read with their partner, and maybe give a few book reviews to guide them toward the right book.
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